ISIS’ ideological source code can be found among America’s allies in Riyadh. A recent confab of so-called “Syrian rebels” took place recently in Saudi Arabia. Those attending included a collection of dysfunctional expatriate “opposition” leaders as well as commanders from various militant groups operating in Syria including Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam – both affiliates of Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front – a US State Department designated foreign terrorist organization since 2012.
The BBC in its article, “Syria conflict: Divided opposition begins unity talks in Riyadh,” would report:
More than 100 Syrian rebels and opposition politicians are meeting in Riyadh in an attempt to come up with a united front for possible peace talks.
As the conference in the Saudi capital began, one of the most powerful rebel groups struck an uncompromising tone.
Ahrar al-Sham insisted President Bashar al-Assad would have to face justice.
It also criticised the presence of Syria-based opposition figures tolerated by Mr Assad and the absence of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the country.
In other words, Ahrar al-Sham openly wanted Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front in Riyadh as well – and along with Jaysh al-Islam, the only other militant group mentioned by name by the BBC as attending the confab – reveals that the entire so-called “opposition” are all direct affiliates of Al Qaeda – fighting alongside Al Qaeda on the battlefield and supporting them politically off of it.
Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam are part of the US and Saudi Arabia’s wider shell game in which they train, fund, arm, and back Al Qaeda terrorists under a myriad of varying and constantly shifting aliases and front groups. The result has been Al Qaeda and ISIS’ otherwise inexplicable rise upon and domination of the battlefield, not to mention a large and steady stream of US-provided weaponry and vehicles “falling into” Al Qaeda’s hands.
Al Qaeda’s Rise in Syria was the Plan All Along
Al Qaeda’s original inception itself was a joint product of US-Saudi geopolitical ambitions. The Muslim Brotherhood, destroyed and scattered in Syria by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s father, President Hafez Al Assad, was reorganized and sent to Afghanistan by the US and Saudi Arabia to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Since then, the group has serendipitously found itself engaged on every battlefield and in every region the US has sought to influence, whether it was in the Balkans and Chechnya, across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), or even as far flung as Southeast Asia.
During the US occupation of Iraq, Al Qaeda would find itself playing a pivotal role dividing Iraqis against one another and confounding what was at first a unified Shia’a-Sunni front against the occupation. Terrorists were funded by Saudi Arabia and brought in from across the MENA region, including from the now infamous terror capital of Benghazi Libya, through NATO-member Turkey, and with the help of Syria’s future opposition, through Syrian territory and finally into Iraq.
In 2007, it would be revealed that the US and Saudi Arabia were openly conspiring to use these terrorists again, this time to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007, 9 page report, “The Redirection,” would spell out in great detail not only how this was being planned, but the sectarian bloodbath it would almost certainly precipitate.
Come 2011, when the first shots were fired in the Syrian conflict, those who have been paying close attention to Al Qaeda knew that from the very beginning, Hersh’s prophetic report was finally being fulfilled. The sectarian bloodbath he predicted in 2007, became a horrific reality from 2011 onward, and there was no question that after the West’s intentionally deceptive spin regarding just who the opposition was faded, it would emerge that it was Al Qaeda all along.
In fact, the US State Department’s own statement designating Al Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization admits that even from the beginning, it was conducting nationwide operations.
The statement would claim:
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed. Through these attacks, al-Nusrah has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.
The last point is particularly interesting, since not only did the US State Department claim Al Nusra sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition, groups the US claims are the legitimate opposition have also attempted to portray Al Nusra as such.
Al Nusra and ISIS’ rise to prominence was not the result of US foreign policy backfiring in Syria, it was the result of US foreign policy working precisely as planned.
Hersh’s article would claim that US and and Saudi efforts to create an armed opposition with which to overthrow the Syrian government would have the predictable consequence of “the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
And that is precisely what happened.
ISIS is a Wahhabi Colony
Having failed to overwhelm Syria in the opening phases of the proxy war in 2011, “deconstructing Syria” is the secondary objective. Carving out a region influenced by Washington’s principle Kurdish proxy, Masoud Barzani, and a Saudi-Qatari-Turkish sphere of influence dominated by Al Qaeda appear to be the current focus of Western ambitions in the region. A divided, weakened Syria still serves the purpose of further isolating and weakening Iran in the region.
Saudi Arabia has proved over the decades to be an extremely pliable client state. Attempts to replicate this, even on a smaller scale in Syria and Iraq would be ideal. Having a Saudi-Qatari-Turkish arc of influence from the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf would be as ideal for Washington as a Shia’a arc of influence would be to Syria, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia.
ISIS then, serves as a means to “colonize” parts of Iraq and Syria with the very same toxic ideology that has prevailed for so long in Riyadh – Wahhabism – an extreme perversion of Islam created to serve the House of Saud’s own interests as far back as the 1700s.
Wahhabism was a means to indoctrinate and differentiate followers from mainstream Islam. This was necessary because its primary sponsors, the House of Saud, sought to use it as a means of achieving regional conquests and long-term regional domination. It green-lighted forms of barbarism, violence, and war strictly prohibited under Islam and relatively absent among the Saudis’ neighbors.
It has been used ever since as a means of filling the House of Saud’s rank and file with obedient, eager extremists ready to fight unquestionably for Saudi Arabia’s self-serving interests, and constitutes the cornerstone upon which the Saudis and their sponsors on Wall Street and in Washington maintain their grip on power within their borders, and influence the world beyond them. ISIS then, represents the export of this toxic ideology, not in the form of a shadowy terrorist group, but as a full-fledged army and “state.” The similarities between ISIS and the House of Saud, even superficially, are difficult to ignore.
Saudi Arabia beheads offenders of all kinds, ISIS beheads offenders of all kinds. Saudi Arabia does not tolerate opposition of any kind, ISIS doesn’t tolerate opposition of any kind. Women, minorities, and political enemies are stripped of anything resembling human rights in Saudi Arabia, and likewise by ISIS. In fact, besides geographical location, it is difficult to make and distinction at all between the two. That the two are inexorably linked politically, financially, ideologically, and strategically makes the case that the so-called “Islamic State” is actually nothing more than a Wahhabi colony, all the more compelling.
What is perhaps more damning than this superficial examination, or even deductions made regarding ISIS’ obvious logistical lines leading to NATO-member Turkey and Saudi Arabia itself, is the fact that official documents from the US Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA), drafted in 2012 (.pdf) quite literally admitted:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were that sought the creation of a “Salafist principality,” the DIA report explains:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
It is clear that – just as was planned since 2007 regarding the rise of Al Qaeda in Syria – the rise of a “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) was planned and pursued by the United States and its allies, including, and specifically Turkey and Saudi Arabia – with Turkey supplying logistical support, and Saudi Arabia supplying the ideological source code.
For those wondering why the United States has spent over a year bombing Syria allegedly to “fight ISIS” but has yet to make any progress, the fact that the US intentionally created the organization to gut Syria and would like to delay the liquidation of the terrorist army as long as possible until that occurs may provide a viable explanation.
For those wondering why Russia and the regime in Ankara are on the brink of war just as ISIS’ supply lines near the Turkish border with Syria are threatened, the fact that Turkey created and has gone through extraordinary measures to ensure those lines are maintained may also be a viable explanation.
And for those wondering why Saudi Arabia is inviting obvious accomplices of Al Qaeda to its capital, Riyadh, for a confab about Syria’s future, it is precisely because Saudi Arabia played a leading role in creating Al Qaeda as a means of influencing Syria’s future to begin with – a conspiracy it is still very much, clearly involved in and a conspiracy the United States doesn’t seem troubled leading along.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.