Friday, February 27, 2015


Obama Incites Bloodshed in Venezuela

The US special services together with their “assistants” from Canada and Great Britain tried again to stage a coup in Venezuela. In the middle of February, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the national security services frustrated the plans of US embassy and put an end to its hostile actions. As a result, a number of people were arrested, including Venezuelan air force officers and activists of radical opposition. The subversive activities were guided by Western diplomatic missions. The names of those behind the plot are known but they cannot be brought to justice being protected by diplomatic immunity... 
Nil NIKANDROV | 27.02.2015

‘Little time for hardware withdrawal in E.Ukraine’ – Russia’s OSCE rep

Published time: February 27, 2015 21:08 
RIA Novosti / John Trast
RIA Novosti / John Trast
Both sides of the Ukraine conflict were given little time to withdraw their weapons, Andrey Kelin, Russia’s representative to the OSCE, said. Despite their fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, there is significant mistrust between the parties, he added.
The both parties have begun the withdrawal of military hardware, OSCE observers confirmed on Friday. Another confirmation regarding the actions of Kiev troops came from anti-government forces leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko.
However, there are still reports of shelling – for instance at the Donetsk airport. OSCE monitors visited the site on Friday. Both parties are blaming each other and various uncontrolled groups for the ceasefire violations.
RIA Novosti / Michail Voskresensky
RIA Novosti / Michail Voskresensky

The “in general” lasting truce enabled the head of OSCE special Monitoring Mission, Ertugrul Apakan, to report to the Security Council that both sides of the conflict are fulfilling the Minsk agreements. The Friday discussions – the first meeting of the Security Council since the signing of the Minsk agreements on February 17 – were held behind closed doors.
However, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, said after the meeting that the US and UK were trying to involve the OSCE in missions not covered by the mandate. Churkin accused the two countries of trying to rewrite the Minsk deal and "lecture the OSCE on what to do."
RT invited Andrey Kelin, Russia’s permanent representative to the OSCE, to discuss the situation.
RT: The chief of the OSCE’s Ukraine team has just been speaking within the last hour to the UN Security Council. He reiterated that the team welcomes the withdrawal, but went on to say...that he can’t get full confirmation of the final destination of both sides of artillery. So what's the problem?
Andrey Kelin: Well, that is true. And I fully sympathize with his position. This situation, it is still a post-war situation, I cannot even call it a post-war situation, the conflict is still hot and mistrust is very big. And you can imagine the issue of verification of withdrawal; that is something that should be carefully discussed and carefully approached. I also recall that in the plan that was designed earlier in September, the earliest plan gave quite a lot of time for withdrawal and verification – a month. And after that, the situation of verification could have been established. Now what we are seeing right now it is the initial stage of withdrawal in the agreements of Feburary 12. This period has been shortened to two weeks actually, so this will continue. Now we are seeing they are withdrawing beyond a certain line of limit, but as for the verification I think it will be the next stage.
RT: Anti-government forces say they‘ve withdrawn most of their hardware, but they’re saying Kiev’s only taking about 20 percent. Kiev, in turn, says the same thing back. As you see it, who’s telling the truth?
AK.: I will not make any opinion of that until it will be said by the OSCE observers...I know that yesterday and today they are following the columns. And yesterday evening they started to follow the columns of withdrawal also by the government forces. So I think in the coming hours we will see a report on the activities of OSCE observers. So far, it is not yet published but my prime information is that they are satisfied with what is happening, with the level of access, with the itineraries and data. Data has been provided primarily by the DPR and LPR, and this is important.
RIA Novosti / Michail Voskresensky
RIA Novosti / Michail Voskresensky

RT: And how broad of an access do the OSCE observers have, to check what is really going on?
AK.: And again we are coming back to the war situation which, I hope, ended just two days ago. Although we still see occasional shelling by both parties, one is trying to shell the other. We can make a [verdict] that shelling is less and less and last night was nearly peaceful. At least, we can say people start to go once again to work, schools and so on. As for the question that you asked, the issue of mistrust, of course it is present and we should talk about it; how to reach the end state of withdrawal and the even more difficult issue – how to start a settlement? The political discussion, since this political discussion is supposed to start 14 days after the start of withdrawal.
RT: Are things progressing in the right direction generally, based on what you've seen?
AK.: I hope very much that they are progressing, and it is not only my opinion but this is also an opinion of the OSCE, of the observers, and they are now completing point number one of the agreement of the February 12. So they will come to point number two and then will be the even more difficult point number three. As I said, the initial discussions on the future status of the LPR and DNR [that are] supposed to be fixed in the laws by the Verkhovna Rada.

OSZE bestätigt: Ostukrainische Volkmilizen ziehen Waffen ab

Die täglichen OSZE-Berichte bestätigen, dass die „Seperatisten“ ihre schweren Waffen abziehen. Außerdem insistiert die OSZE darauf, dass alle Seiten ihre Waffen, den Minkser-Vereinbarungen entsprechend, zurückziehen. RT sprach mit dem stellvertretenden Chef der OSZE-Mission über seine Einschätzung der aktuellen Lage.
Quelle: RT
Quelle: RT

Chinese diplomat lectures West on Russia’s ‘real security concerns’ over Ukraine

Published time: February 27, 2015 12:50
Edited time: February 27, 2015 14:21 

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.(Reuters / How Hwee Yong)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.(Reuters / How Hwee Yong)
Western nations should heed Russia's legitimate security concerns over the volatile situation in Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat has said in a rare public statement on the crisis that has damaged relations between Russia and the West.
Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, said the Ukrainian crisis came about due to the ongoing “game”– a metaphor similar to that used by US geopolitical strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, who referred to it as the “grand chessboard” – between Russia and the West, which has not abated despite, or because of, the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Arguing that outside interference by various powers inflamed the Ukrainian situation, Xing said Moscow would naturally feel threatened unless Western powers engaged in a more constructive approach.

Xing advised Western powers to “abandon the zero-sum mentality” in their efforts to deal with Moscow and the Ukraine crisis and “take the real security concerns of Russia into consideration," Reuters reported, quoting state news agency Xinhua.

China in the past has urged all involved parties to sit down and negotiate for peace.

The Chinese ambassador, whose Brussels office is in the same city as NATO’s headquarters, then offered some insight as to what motivates the United States on the international stage, and what could lead to its possible decline.

“The United States is unwilling to see its presence in any part of the world being weakened, but the fact is its resources are limited, and it will be to some extent hard work to sustain its influence in external affairs,” he was quoted as saying.
Reuters / Jason Lee
Reuters / Jason Lee

Xing said Washington's involvement in Ukraine could “become a distraction in its foreign policy.”

The Chinese diplomat’s comments represent a sharp departure from the relentless wave of hostile rhetoric coming from the West, which has gone to great lengths to blame Russia as the aggressor in the crisis.

Russia has been accused of arming eastern Ukrainian militia and dispatching soldiers and armaments as reinforcement – claims Moscow has denied on numerous occasions. There were even suggestions that Russia was somehow involved in the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

Despite the extreme nature of the allegations, no substantive evidence has ever been presented to support such claims.

Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has blamed the United States as being the primary destabilizing factor in Ukraine.

“Through every step, as the crisis has developed, our American colleagues and the EU under their influence have tried to escalate the situation,” Lavrov told participants at the Munich Security Conference earlier this month.

Lavrov pointed to the failure of the EU to engage Russia over Brussels’ efforts to have Ukraine sign an economic association agreement with the bloc; the involvement of Western political figures during the Maidan protests; the failure of the West to condemn Kiev for branding its own citizens “terrorists;” and for supporting a coup that led to the toppling of a democratically elected president.

“The US made it public it brokered the transit of power in Ukraine. But we know perfectly well what exactly happened, who discussed candidates for the future Ukrainian government on the phone, who was at Maidan, and what is going on [in Ukraine] right now,” Lavrov said.

China is a member of BRICS, the economic association that includes Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

US guilt in Ukraine crisis 'considerable, obvious' – Duma speaker

“For a quarter of century the key principles of the United Nations had been systematically violated. The US and other Western nations neglected the fundamental rules of international law, widely used double standards and didn't hesitate to intervene directly into other nations' sovereign affairs. The impact of this policy is fully felt by the peoples of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and now Ukraine,” Lavrov said at a diplomatic scholars’ meeting in Moscow.
Published time: February 27, 2015 10:21
Edited time: February 27, 2015 11:57 

Reuters / Maxim Shemetov
Reuters / Maxim Shemetov
Instead of promoting a peaceful resolution for the crisis, Washington and its allies are bent on imposing sanctions against Russia, “partially to cover up their own guilt for the events,” Sergey Naryshkin told a media conference in New Delhi.
“The guilt of the United States of America for those events is considerable and obvious to the entire world,” he stressed.
Naryshkin added that the sanctions policy is nothing but “economic blackmail that has nothing to do with law.”
He said that the conflict in Ukraine “poses a risk to international security, first of all to European security.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the travails of Ukraine are a direct result of Western interventionism.
“For a quarter of century the key principles of the United Nations had been systematically violated. The US and other Western nations neglected the fundamental rules of international law, widely used double standards and didn't hesitate to intervene directly into other nations' sovereign affairs. The impact of this policy is fully felt by the peoples of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and now Ukraine,” Lavrov said at a diplomatic scholars’ meeting in Moscow.
Apart from sanctions Russia sees a more direct threat to the fragile ceasefire in Ukraine. The UK announced it would send military trainers to help Kiev build up its army. Officials in Moscow see the move as potentially derailing the truce.

“Britain, which was not part of the Normandy format [Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, which negotiated the ceasefire], is apparently prepared to derail the entire process. What kind of EU unity over a political resolution in Ukraine are we talking about here?” a source close to the Kremlin told journalists on Friday.
“Statements from London that say there’s no military solution to the Ukrainian crisis amid this move appear to be at least hypocritical and a case of gambling with the security of all Europe in worst-case scenario,” the source added.
The ceasefire brokered by the four nations in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, appears to be holding up despite numerous violations. The level of violence reported in eastern Ukraine has considerably decreased, and both Kiev and the rebel forces are pulling back heavy weapons from the front line under OSCE observation.
However little trust remains between the combatants, and both warn that they would turn their weapons back and resume hostilities if attacked. On Friday, Kiev reported that three of its troops had been killed over the previous 24 hours, after two previous days with no combat losses.
On Friday, Russia sent its 16-truck humanitarian aid convoy to the war-torn regions in eastern Ukraine. Rebel military engineers are using the calm period to search for unexploded shells and other remnants of the battles and dispose of them, RT correspondent Marad Gazdiev reports from the scene.

What’s Behind Ukraine’s Secret Weapons Deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?

EDITOR'S CHOICE | 26.02.2015 | 22:24
U.S. President Barack Obama apparently is going ahead with his plan for NATO missiles to be placed in Ukraine aimed against Moscow, but found a way to do it that won’t violate the warnings by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin against Washington’s directly supplying those arms to Ukraine (such as is demanded of Obama by congressional Republicans, and even by a few hawkish Democrats — all passionate supporters of Hillary Clinton). Obama’s subordinate (or dependent local leader), the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is now arranging to receive those weapons via a less direct channel; and this arrangement couldn’t happen if the U.S. White House were opposed to it. The idea might even have originated inside the White House.
On Tuesday, 24 February 2015, in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, Poroshenko placed the finishing touches on the purchase of Western, mainly U.S., weapons, via the UAE, from Western firms such as, perhaps, Lockheed, GE, Krupp, Euromissile, etc., which will be paid for by Western taxpayers, via IMF ‘loans’ to Ukraine, which money comes from taxpayer contributions to the IMF, but which ‘loans’ can never be paid back to the IMF — they’ll inevitably default, because these ‘loans’ are at the very end of the long line of creditors of Ukraine, which is a bankrupt country, having been looted for decades (and especially during the past year) by its aristocrats (called “oligarchs”), who have already spirited tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars off to Western tax-haven countries, so that only Ukraine’s public (who received little if any benefit from those debts of the Ukrainian Government) will pay even the pennies-on-the-dollars that Ukraine’s bondholders will be receiving (and the recipients will be only the holders of the oldest of Ukraine’s bonds, which won’t be the IMF, EU, or U.S., Ukraine’s post-coup ‘lenders’).
This is called the IMF’s “austerity” program, for looted nations such as Greece and Ukraine, and it holds sacred the thefts by aristocrats, while it transfers all of aristocrats’ losses off onto their respective publics, who (as Ukrainians now will) pay it via their stripped governmental services and hiked taxes; and these poor people then serve aristocrats as virtual slaves (low-wage labor), many of whom thus migrate to wealthier countries, which, in turn, reject the burden of caring for them, thus producing yet more resentments and hatreds against these poor people, regardless of how they behave.
Here is the way this Ukrainian arms deal works:
The deal itself was publicly, but only vaguely, announced on Tuesday, the 24th, along with “what Poroshenko described as a ‘very important negotiation about the facilitation of the United Arab Emirates investment in the Ukraine.’ He declined to provide specifics of the deal.” The reason why Arabic royals (in this case the Al Nahyan family that controls Abu Dhabi) are naturals for this — the logical persons to serve as the middle-men to sell Western-made weapons to Russia’s new (since the time of Obama’s February 2014 Ukrainian coup) enemy, Ukraine — is that the U.S. aristocracy has, for at least 70 years, been allied with Sunni aristocracies, against, originally, the Soviet Union, and then Russia. Russia had been the chief supplier of oil and gas to the other Soviet republics; it was and is the local oil-and-gas giant. Whereas Russia’s aristocrats bonded instead with Shia Iran (which alliance was interrupted during 1953-79 by the CIA’s coup there and then the Shah’s ultimate overthrow and then the restoration of Iran’s alliance with Russia), the American aristocrats had bonded with Sunni Saudi Arabia, and with other Arab royals, in UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, etc. So, with the exception of Armand Hammer’s Occidental Petreoleum, which bonded with Libya’s pro-Soviet Sunni anti-imperialist and anti-Western Muammar Gaddafi, Western oil companies generally allied with the Saud family, who had allied with the most intensely Sunni clergy of all, who were the followers of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who had personally agreed in 1744, with Muhammad bin Saud, that the Sauds and Wahhabs would jointly control the Kingdom and ultimately the world — Wahhabs controlling the laws, and Sauds controlling the military.
In short: America’s aristocracy bonded with Sunni aristocrats, and Russia’s aristocracy bonded with Shia ones. Ukraine has now joined the Sunni alliance, and this is done with Obama’s blessing.
America’s progressives might find it hard to understand, but America’s far-right aristocratic Koch brothers, who are allied with Big Oil on almost everything else, have no part in Big Oil’s alliance with the Sauds, and consequently the Kochs’ Cato Institute actually did an honest analysis of U.S.-Saudi relations, concluding,
“The United States should reassess the current Washington-Riyadh axis. The American commitment to the Saudi royal family is a moral blemish and a practical danger. It has already drawn the United States into one conventional war and has helped to make Americans targets for terrorism, which generated far more casualties in one day than did the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, and the Afghanistan campaign (so far) combined.”
Instead, most of America’s aristocrats who are heavily invested in crushing Russia are Democrats, such as George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. These are the CIA Democrats. Another example of that is Markos Moulitsas. Of course, CIA Republicans dominate the anti-Russian campaign, but virtually the entire U.S. aristocracy is either funding it or else doesn’t much care either way about it. None cares about the extermination of the residents in Ukraine’s former Donbass region. This is why the U.S. media are now pouring forth with virtual unanimity against Russia — as if it were Russia that were surrounding NATO, instead of NATO that’s surrounding Russia. Even though Obama’s Ukrainian Government is carrying out an ethnic-cleansing campaign, its victims are being portrayed as if they were ‘terrorists’ and even ‘Russians.’ The victims are just former Ukrainians.
On 11 February 2015, I headlined “Al Qaeda’s Bookkeeper Spills the Beans” and reported that the person who had kept the financial books for Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda during the period leading up to 9/11, and who entered each and every donation into their financial books, including each one of the many multi-million-dollar donations, which poured in from Saudi and other Arab royals, provided sworn testimony recently, in a U.S. prison where he has been held incommunicado for more than a decade in order to protect Saudi and other Sunni royals — testimony that he swore upon the Quran, which he holds dearer than anything else — and, in this sworn testimony he explained in detail the profound interdependency between the Wahhab clergy and the Saud family, and the resulting dependency that Al Qaeda had upon both that clergy and that royal family, so that even the other Sunni royal families (such as in Qatar, Bahrain, and UAE) are beholden to the Saudi royal family and its Wahhabist clerics.
In other words: the U.S. aristocracy’s allliance with the Sauds explains an important part of the reason why the U.S. Government’s explanation of 9/11 is based upon lies.
A little-noticed news story in Al-Monitor, on 27 January 2015, from Bruce Reidel, reported that, “ Feb. 14 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the US alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On Feb. 14, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with King Abdul-Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud in Egypt and the two forged a partnership that has endured despite occasional severe strains for the last 70 years.” Reidel went on:
“The meeting was a closely held secret for security reasons. Only a handful on each side knew it was coming. FDR and Ibn Saud met on the USS Quincy, a cruiser, in the Great Bitter Lake along the Suez Canal, as World War II was coming to an end. FDR arrived from the Yalta summit with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Roosevelt’s health was very poor; he had only weeks to live. Ibn Saud had come from Jeddah on an American destroyer, the USS Murphy, with an entourage of bodyguards, cooks, slaves, an astrologer, a fortune-teller and other retainers and some sheep. The king only reluctantly agreed to leave his wives behind in Jeddah. It was his first trip outside the Arabian Peninsula aside from a brief visit to Basra in Iraq. The two agreed to work together to ensure stability in the post-war Middle East. The United States would ensure security for the kingdom, and the Saudis would ensure access to their oil fields. The United States acquired use of Dhahran air base for operations in the Middle East. US oil companies were already operating in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia declared war on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan two weeks later, securing a seat in the United Nations.”
Barack Obama wants to continue the program that George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and G.W. Bush, worked on before him, to surround Russia with NATO missiles. The takeover of Ukraine, and the enlistment of the Arabic oil sheikhs in assisting further to turn the screws against Russia, are key components in doing that: crushing Russia’s resistance to American domination.
Whereas, for FDR, the alliance with Sunni Islam was purely anti-communist, against the Soviet Union, the U.S. Presidents after 1980 were and are anti-Russian, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with ideology. The U.S. aristocracy intend to dominate the aristocracy in every other nation, and Russia is the only militarily powerful nation that is opposed to being controlled by this global Empire. Consequently, President Obama, who is an agent for America’s aristocracy, wants to cripple if not destroy Russia. And this is why, in his National Security Strategy 2015, 17 of the 18 times he uses the term ‘aggression’ are applying it against Russia. Russia’s President Putin would have to be an idiot not to recognize that today’s United States (its aristocracy, not the American public, who are quite different) is extremely hostile.
Russia could be the bulwark that, along with the rest of Europe and America, could restrain Islamic extremism; but, since America’s aristocracy is primarily concerned with crushing Russia, Islamic terrorism will probably only continue to grow.
Furthermore, events such as 9/11 are necessary for the Arabic aristocrats in order for them to keep their clerics with them and thereby control their own nation’s public.
Here is an official photo of Poroshenko with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Al Nahyan:
Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 7.30.39 PM
So: the U.S. ends up being allied with Islamic terrorists, while accusing Russia of backing ‘terrorists’ in the former Ukraine, whose only crime is that they don’t want to be slaughtered.
On 12 February 2015, was issued a “Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Ukraine,” which opened: “Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), statement today in Brussels, Belgium: ‘I am pleased to announce that the IMF team working in Kiev has reached a staff-level agreement with the Ukrainian government on a new economic reform program that would be supported by an Extended Fund Facility of SDR 12.35 billion (about $17.5 billion, €15.5 billion) from the IMF, as well as by additional resources from the international community.” Violating even the IMF’s own prohibitions against pouring loans into a nation that’s at war, the IMF was here making clear that they were 100% behind Obama’s Ukrainian proxy war against Russia. This is where the money will come from to finance Ukraine’s acquisition of more weapons to exterminate or else drive out the residents in the area of Ukraine that had voted 90% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President that Obama overthrew.
It’s ongoing mass-murder on the installment plan, with the IMF providing most of the funds.
Because the loaned money is going to pay the ethnic-cleansing campaign, it’s not going toward the needs of the Ukrainian people. This is extreme austerity, and it started immediately, a day after the day, 26 February 2014, when Arseniy Yatsenyuk became appointed to run the country, as he had been selected to do by Victoria Nuland of Obama’s State Department 22 days prior. As Kommersant reported, on 6 March 2014: “the strategy of the government was approved in Parliament on 27 February and on 3 March the Ministry of Finance sent an action plan for approval to the Ministry of Economic Development. The document is striking in its scale. … ‘Under the Knife’ go social costs. Already in March, the payment of pensions will be reduced to only 50% of the designated pension amounts.” But an uproar held that up. However, now it’s being done.
On December 11th: “Cabinet wants to reduce schooling to 9 years [from 12 years], to reduce the cost of the budget Finance Ministry proposes to amend the legislation governing the humanitarian sphere, the sphere of public administration, pensions, social security, the work of the prosecution and the army.”
On December 19th: “Education Minister Sergey Kvit noted that the department, which he heads, will never agree to such a proposal.”
On December 24th: “Education Minister Sergei quits.”
Pensions are now set to be halved, even in the greatly depreciated Ukrainian currency; and public schooling is to be reduced to only 9 years. All of that IMF (and U.S., and EU) money goes instead to pay to mass-murder the residents in Ukraine’s former Donbass region, the area shown on this map in which the residents voted 90% for Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama overthrew, and where all of the residents are officially ’terrorists.’ The phrase for that used to be: “free-fire zone.” Obama wants the residents exterminated, and the IMF and EU are going along with that.
The circuitous way in which Ukraine will be buying its weapons is designed to avoid triggering a declaration of war by Vladimir Putin, or else to make non-obvious to the public why he would be justified in doing so.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry notes transition of Ukrainian conflict to quieter phase

News | 27.02.2015 | 12:00
TASS - The crisis in Ukraine has a possibility for resolution now as the situation in that country has become more stable, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said here on Thursday.
He said that when he was taking a look at the world map and seeing Syria, Libya and Iraq, the Ukrainian crisis, the Ukrainian conflict seemed to him to be the only one that still had chances for a solution.
Steinmeier said it looked like the situation in the former Soviet republic was finally transiting into a quieter phase and soon the parties to the process might really be talking not only about a ceasefire but also about a political solution to the conflict.
Tags: Germany Ukraine Steinmeier

"Al-Qaeda and ISIS are products of US and Saudi imperialism" DAVID MIZNER

Don’t Blame Islam

Al-Qaeda and ISIS are products of US and Saudi imperialism.

Mujahideen fighters during the Afghan War.
Mujahideen fighters during the Afghan War. 
After the attack on Charlie Hedbo, certain liberals joined conservatives in declaring that the killer was Islamic extremism. Any suggestion of Western culpability would be inaccurate, if not immoral.
“The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies,” wrote George Packer.
They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West — the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo. Least of all should they be “understood” as reactions to disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists . . . They are only the latest blows delivered by an ideology that has sought to achieve power through terror for decades.
The sentiment recalls the prevailing view after September 11, 2001, when Susan Sontag was blasted for pointing out that “this was not a ‘cowardly’ attack on ‘civilization’ or ‘liberty’ or ‘humanity’ or ‘the free world’ but an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed super-power, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions.”
Yet this time around, more commentators in mainstream outlets broke from the they-hate-freedom, blame-Islam chorus. Whether because the attack didn’t happen in the United States or because the teenage “war on terror” shades the debate, or because a few more thoughtful writers now have prominent platforms, truth crept in.
Also in the New Yorker, Teju Cole wrote, “Violence from ‘our’ side continues unabated. By this time next month, in all likelihood, many more ‘young men of military age’ and many others, neither young nor male, will have been killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere. If past strikes are anything to go by, many of these people will be innocent of wrongdoing.”
That counts as progress. As does CNN’s decision to run a piece by Noam Chomsky that calls President Obama’s drone killings “the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.” And as does Seamus Milne’s piece in the Guardian pointing out that violence like the Paris attack is an extension of Western wars.
Yet these pieces are still relatively kind to the United States and its allies. They downplay the role of the West in producing the violence that its “thought leaders” blame on Islam. The truth is not merely that Team USA’s violence is far greater than that of its enemies, or that the former triggers the latter, but that Western governments and their client states have actively empowered right-wing jihadist groups.
Western imperialists depict “Islamic terrorism” as a mysterious, indigenous virus in the way that neocons and their liberal allies blame“black culture” for problems caused by racism and longstanding oppression. There’s nothing ineffable in Islam that produces “terrorism.”
There is, however, a longstanding US effort to use specific facets of Muslim theology as weapons. This is part of a larger context that includes the European colonialism that preceded it and the American coups and wars that have sown chaos and sectarianism and undermined the self-determination of people in the region.
Milne offers a familiar take: the West inflicts enormous violence on people in the Middle East, and — as Ward Churchill once put it — “some people push back.” This is true. Many of those who’ve carried out attacks in Western capitals in the name of Islam — from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber — cite the West’s violence as their motive. Their explanations jibe not only with common sense but with the research of University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape, who found that by far the most significant cause of suicide bombing across the world is foreign occupation.
Furthermore, only a tiny fraction of Muslims have joined right-wing jihadist groups. Attempting to bolster his claim that Islam is inherently violent, Bill Maher cites (selective) stats showing many Muslims hold retrograde views on women and gays, but this is a non-sequitur. Holding such views almost never translates into al-Qaeda–ISIS membership.
In his book The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists, Charles Kurzman reports that “well over 99 percent” have rejected the call. Despite the West’s routine killing of civilians, the vast majority of Muslims oppose retaliatory attacks on civilians, and even most of those who approve of the tactic are loath to sign on with a movement that kills mostly Muslims.
Beyond a fringe, Muslims don’t regard al-Qaeda-ISIS as a legitimate form of resistance to imperialism.On the contrary, many see al-Qaeda-ISIS as the spawn of US–Saudi imperialism.
Because it is.
Here we must resort to that bane of liberals: history. The United States established diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in 1933 but didn’t get seriously involved in the Middle East until World War II, when it began to take over regional hegemony from Great Britain. The US relationship with Saudi Arabia deepened as Washington sought to secure its hold on the region. Throughout the Cold War, American officials tried to use right-wing militants against the two primary threats to its hegemony in the Middle East: the Soviet Union and Arab nationalism.
Robert Dreyfuss lays out this history in his overlooked 2006 bookDevil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. The great flaw of the book is that Dreyfuss, like neocons, lumps together all kinds of Muslim political practice — from Hamas to Iran’s revolutionaries to al-Qaeda — under the useless term of “Islamism.” (The American–Israeli permissiveness vis-à-vis the rise of Hamas is important but tells us next to nothing about al-Qaeda).
Nonetheless, Dreyfuss makes a persuasive case, one drawn largely from the public record. Indeed, it’s almost certain that the US role in sparking the right-wing jihadist fire is even greater than the one he documents because many of the dealings were covert.
In the 1950s there was a problem for the United States called Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose resolute independence was unacceptable. The new leader of Egypt was such a threat that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles took Eisenhower’s statement that “the Nasser problem could be eliminated” to be an assassination order.
To try to weaken Nasser, the US wooed the Muslim Brotherhood despite — or rather, because of — its record of terrorism and violence against the state. Americans also saw anti-communist potential in its religiosity. “Either we shall walk the path of Islam or we shall walk the path of Communism,” wrote Sayyid Qutb, the group’s chief theoretician.
McCarthy-era Washington was receptive.
In 1953, a covert US government program brought leading thinkers and activists from the Middle East to Princeton. Among them was the Brotherhood’s Said Ramadan, son-in-law of the group’s founder. He visited the White House that same year and would become the CIA’s man.
In 1954, a Brotherhood attempt to assassinate Nasser backfired. He survived and launched a crackdown, arresting thousands. In 1956, Nasser’s popularity surged thanks to his nationalization of the Suez Canal, which led Britain and France to occupy the canal and Israel to invade the Sinai. All three were forced to withdraw, and Nasser became a regional hero.
Nasser was a main target of Eisenhower’s 1957 speech to Congress declaring that he would fund Arab governments in an attempt to diminish Soviet influence. The “Eisenhower Doctrine” made Saudi Arabia the region’s biggest beneficiary of American money. (Roosevelt had declared defense of the kingdom a vital national interest and secured Saudi agreement to host a US military base until 2003.)
Nasser became even more popular in the 1960s on the strength of his developmentalist program. At the same time, he continued to repress the Brotherhood. Nasser’s government imprisoned, tortured, and eventually hanged Qutb, a martyr-to-be whose writings calling for violent revolution would inspire Islamic militants.
A common misperception is that Arab governments successfully handled terrorism with repression. In fact, they ended up displacing and deepening it. The following thesis, laid out by Lawrence Wright, is overstated but contains a measure of truth:
One line of thinking proposes that America’s tragedy on September 11th was born in the prisons of Egypt. Human rights advocates argue that torture created an appetite for revenge, first in Sayyid Qutb and later in his acolytes, including Ayman al-Zawahiri.
In the 1960s, Arab nationalism — which entailed development and redistribution, anti-imperialism, and a certain commitment to anti-Zionism — gained traction not just in Egypt but across the region, from Algeria to Palestine to Iraq. In response, the United States turned to its despotic friend.
“The US forged a working relationship in the Saudi Arabia, intent on using its foreign policy arm, Wahhabi fundamentalism,” Dreyfuss writes. “The United States joined with King Saud and Prince Faisal (later King Faisal) in pursuit of an Islamic bloc from North Africa to Afghanistan and Pakistan.” To that end, Saudi Arabia formed a host of global institutions, including the Wahhabi Muslim World League, and built thousands of mosques and madrassas.
Flash forward to the 1980s, when the US teamed up with Saudi Arabia to fund the Afghan mujahedeen. In the American mythos, the Soviet invasion led to US involvement; in fact, the US had been backing the Afghan Muslim Brotherhood and other right-wing proxies for years. Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski would later acknowledge that it was their intent to trigger a Soviet invasion.
At least as early as 1972, the CIA began funding Afghan fighters. They included future Mujahideen leaders Rabbani Sayyaf and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who would become close to both Osama bin Laden and Pakistani Intelligence (ISI). Sayyah is believed to have invited bin Laden to take refuge in Afghanistan in 1996. In the 1980s, the bulk of US and Saudi aid went to the Mujahideen faction headed by Hekmatyar, a brutal leader whose “specialty,” Dreyfuss reports, was skinning prisoners alive.
US support for such factions intensified after Sardar Daoud seized power from his fellow royalty in 1973. Breaking with tradition, he declared himself not Shah but president of a secular democratic republic. But his non-alignment — he kept his distance from both Washington and Moscow — concerned the United States, which teamed up with ISI to sponsor an unsuccessful coup in 1974. As in Egypt, the United States joined with right-wing militants to target a secular, independent government.
While Daoud’s independent, moderately progressive government was a problem for the United States, the communist, Soviet-friendly government that took control in 1978 was anathema. The CIA met with and funded anti-government forces. Afghanistan became even more important to the United States when it lost its nearby ally, the Shah, in January 1979. In July, President Carter formalized authorized aid to the Mujahideen with a program called Operation Cyclone.
In the fall, Prime Minster Hafizullah Amin became the leader of Afghanistan after he ordered the killing of the president, Nur Muhammad Taraki. The Soviet Union believed the CIA had arranged the coup. In December, Soviet troops moved in, killed Amin, and installed a new leader.
The next sordid chapter — in which the US and Saudi Arabia funneled money through ISI to the Mujahideen and recruited Arab militants to join them — is well known, although details are disputed. Saudi Arabia deposited hundreds of millions of dollars into a Swiss bank account controlled by the United States.
The new Saudi king, at the time the governor of Riyadh, was a top fundraiser, “providing $25 million a month to the mujahideen.” British Intelligence, with guidance from the CIA in Pakistan, headed the training of fighters inside Afghanistan while the US military trained Arab fighters in Egypt and, according to some reports, in the United States.
Secrecy makes it impossible to know how much, if any, contact there was between the CIA and bin Laden in Pakistan, not least because each would have an interest in concealing it. We know that bin Laden formed an alliance with longtime CIA beneficiary Hekmatyar, and that ISI — the “CIA’s primary conduit” for sending money and weapons to the Mujahideen — supported bin Laden’s front organization and precursor to al-Qaeda, Maktab al-Khidamar.
A few weeks after September 11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia said that in the 1980s bin Laden had thanked him for bringing “the Americans, our friends, to help us against the atheists, he said the communists.”
In any case, the US helped birth al-Qaeda — a truth so undeniable even Hillary Clinton has discussed it, lying only about the sequence of events:
The people we are fighting today we funded twenty years ago, and we did it because we were locked in this struggle with the Soviet Union. They invaded Afghanistan, and we did not want to see them control central Asia, and we went to work. And it was President Reagan in partnership with the Congress led by Democrats who said, You know what? Sounds like a pretty good idea. Let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistani military. Let’s go recruit these Mujahadeen. That’s great let’s get some to come from Saudi Arabia and other places importing their Wahhabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.
During the war in Afghanistan, the West and Saudi Arabia helped create not just al-Qaeda but related groups, like the Libyan Islamic Fighters Group (LIGF). Formed in Eastern Libya by “Afghan Arabs,” LIGF tried to kill Muammar Qadhafi three times in 1995–96. British Intelligence sponsored one of the attempts, according to former agent David Shayler. Former French intelligence agents confirmed the claim and said it was this secret that led Britain to thwart the arrest of bin Laden after Qadhafi had issued (and Interpol approved) a warrant in 1998.
The United States had also been involved in various attempted coups against Qadhafi — Reagan even tried to kill the Libyan leader himselfin 1986. But after September 11, Qadhafi became an ally in the “war on terror,” and the United States helped him crack down on his enemies. The CIA handed over former LIGF members to Qadhafi, sometimes torturing them first.
But by the time the uprising broke out in February 2011, the West had deemed Qadhafi an enemy again, and the United States was backing an opposition force that included former LGIF members fighting as the Libyan Islamic Movement. To be a right-wing jihadist over many years is to be backed by the CIA in one war, tortured by the CIA in the next, and backed again by the CIA in the next. It wasn’t popular in the United States to mention the fact that the opposition forces in Libya included extremists. The press preferred to focus on more appealing factions.
Nor was it popular to discuss a CIA role. Even now it’s still widely believed that US involvement was confined to airstrikes. Yet six weeks after the first protests, the New York Times reported that “C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qadhafi military.”
To cite CIA involvement is not necessarily to deny that there was also an indigenous rebellion. The two things can coexist, and often do. What’s undeniable is that amid the chaos and carnage of post-regime change Libya, extremist groups are thriving. These include an ascendant affiliate of ISIS in the eastern city of Derna — which has, relatedly, produced an inordinate number of foreign fighters in Iraq.
The rise of ISIS, like al-Qaeda’s, implicates US imperialism. It’s hardly radical to note that ISIS is the child of the US war on Iraq, a fundamental fact that tends to go missing from mainstream analysis. While violent oppression of Sunnis by the Iraqi government aided ISIS, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is too easy of a scapegoat. As Patrick Cockburn writes, it was the war in Syria that destabilized Iraq and, in turn, made ISIS a regional power.
The role of the US inside Syria prior to the 2011 protests is unclear. Thanks largely to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 report, we know that President Bush urged Saudi Arabia to unleash sectarian forces in an attempt to undermine Assad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. This time the primary target was Iran, not the Soviet Union, but this was the Afghanistan playbook — still in vogue despite that intervening incident in lower Manhattan.
As part of this effort, US officials cultivated ties to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The plan included covert ops in Syria, but we don’t know what they entailed or how, if at all, they influenced the events of 2011, or the precise chain of events that led to the uprising becoming a war.
What happened to the Syrian revolution — if, indeed, that term even applies — is disputed. We should be able to agree, however, that a progressive uprising of indeterminate size gave way to a large reactionary one as the Syrian government cracked down on leftists and foreign-backed extremists rushed in.
Gilbert Achcar, a self-described “strong and continuous supporter of the uprising,” says the opposition made a grave mistake when it allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, “which was in thrall to Turkey, Qatar, and the US.” In so doing, he says, they “got sucked into a degenerative dialectics of religious extremism that led to the founding of ISIS.”
The United States supported the uprising against the Syrian government even as ISIS became a fixture. US policy was one of malign neglect at best. We can be certain that American officials were well aware of ISIS’s rise. They accepted it in Iraq (a country they wanted to quit and whose president they no longer supported) and approved of it in Syria (a country they wanted to damage and whose president they wanted to remove or at least weaken).
With ISIS now public enemy number one, it may be easy to forget that for months — until ISIS became big enough to threaten American interests — US weapons, both rhetorical and actual, were pointed only at the Syrian government. US officials gave major speeches on Syria that didn’t even mention ISIS.
Saudi-Qatari-Turkish support for extremists had at least tacit backing from Washington. Documents recently published online confirm that Turkish Intelligence provided arms to al-Qaeda in Syria prior to its split with ISIS. Joe Biden’s October 2014 scolding of US allies for supporting ISIS and al-Qaeda only threw into relief the previous months of silence.
More than that, the United States itself strengthened ISIS. Both President Obama and his critics on the Right now have an interest in pushing the myth that he did little to support anti-government fighters. In fact, beginning at least as early as 2012, the CIA trained opposition forces and gave them weapons belonging both to the United States and its allies. Many of these weapons ended up in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Here’s Cockburn on the Yarmouk Brigade, part of the US-backed Free Syrian Army:
Numerous videos show that the Yarmouk Brigade has frequently fought in collaboration with JAN, the official al-Qa’ida affiliate. Since it was likely that, in the midst of battle, these two groups would share their munitions, Washington was effectively allowing advanced weaponry to be handed over to its deadliest enemy.
Those who blame US ineptness are in effect arguing that American officials were unaware of public information showing it was a near certainty that arms could flow to al-Qaeda and ISIS. Did they want to arm their alleged enemies? Or did they just accept it? Is there a difference, finally?
And the Free Syrian Army, insofar as it actually existed as a coherent entity, contained many right-wing elements. The mainstream press now acknowledges that right-wing sectarians dominate the opposition, but this has been the case for some time. Nir Rosen, who spent months researching the war, goes further. “There are no actual moderate insurgents either ideologically or in terms of their actions,” he writes. Indeed, many FSA fighters have joined ISIS and al-Qaeda.
The United States claims it has now ditched what’s left of the FSA in favor of its own proxy army. As the US teams up with Arab countries to train fighters, its policy on Syria resembles its policy on Afghanistan in the 1980s.
American officials would argue that ISIS is the target of this force, but regime change remains the chief goal of their partners, and in any case the result is clear: continued warfare and continued shattering of Syria. The US now seems to favor a de facto partition that would destroy the territorial integrity of the Syrian state.
As for the makeup of the new proxy force, President Obama has repeatedly pressed Congress to exempt his war on ISIS from the ban on financing torturers and other war criminals. While it’s quaint that he feels the need to acknowledge the Leahy Law, his doing so indicates the kind of force the US and its allies will be sending into Syria.
“Clean” fighters are hard to come by, they say. No doubt. But the truth is that, like their Afghan Mujahideen-supporting predecessors in the 1980s, American officials probably want to unleash the most ruthless killers. And in several years, once the force our government built has merged with ISIS and slaughtered American civilians, we’ll all rally around the flag, lament the “sickness” in Islam, and cheer as the bombs fall. Source:
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