US top diplomat John Kerry must have taken us for fools. Earlier this week, speaking in Saudi Arabia, he warned that al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq are “the most dangerous players in the region.”
The US secretary of state vowed Washington’s support for the Iraqi government in its fight to regain control of towns in its western province taken over by militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
That’s rich. The government of Syria is battling to root out these same al-Qaeda-linked militants. But in that country, Washington offers no such support. In fact, the priority there for Washington is to sack the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.
So, how does Kerry square that contradiction? In Iraq, al-Qaeda is a threat that needs to be defeated, whereas in Syria the very same organization is apparently not a threat, but the Syrian government is.
What’s even richer is that Kerry was issuing his warnings about al-Qaeda in the region surrounded by senior members of the House of Saud, who are known to all the world as the bankers, recruiters and weapons suppliers of this network.
Only a few months ago, media reports disclosed American diplomatic cables – going back to 2009 – in which the former US ambassador to Iraq explicitly stated that Saudi Arabia was financing and arming al-Qaeda extremists in Iraq.
American Ambassador Christopher Hill said then that intelligence showed that Saudi Arabia was “inciting sectarian violence” in the country.
Hill added, “Intelligence sources reported that Saudi Arabia is based in the effort to destabilize the [Iraqi] government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has since re-branded itself as the ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It is closely aligned with other extremist groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Shams, Liwa al-Islam and the Islamic Front.
The alphabet-soup nature of these myriad groups does not alter the fact that they all share the same extremist Saudi Wahhabi ideology, they operate under the flag of al-Qaeda, they have conducted the most vile atrocities against civilians, including Sunni, Shia and Christians, and they are all sponsored by Saudi Arabia.
Officially, the House of Saud maintains the risible fiction that it only supports “moderates” belonging to the so-called Free Syrian Army. But the unavoidable fact is that the oil-rich kingdom is the banker for the al-Qaeda-linked networks, as the former US ambassador to Iraq attested.
Even the mainstream Western media cannot hide that fact. In October 2013, the New York Times reported US officials admitting that weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia supposedly for the FSA were ending up in the hands of the extremist militants in Syria.
Iraqi sources this week confirmed that Saudi weapons supplied to the likes of the ISIS in Syria are now being used in that group’s resurgence in Iraq’s Western Anbar Province.
So there you have it. American weapons supplied covertly to Saudi Arabia are being used by al-Qaeda to inflict sectarian mayhem in Iraq, as well as in Syria, destabilizing both countries.
And yet John Kerry sitting alongside the Saudi terror sponsors has the audacity to publicly warn that al-Qaeda has become “the most dangerous player” in the region.
Kerry said during his Saudi visit, “This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis.” Well actually, no. This is a fight in Iraq against terrorists sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the US.
Even more absurd was the American diplomat’s offer of military support to the Iraqi government against militants who have been armed by the US and its Saudi client.
“We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground [in Iraq]. This is their fight, but we’re going to help them in their fight.”
Already, Washington has supplied the Iraqi government with Hellfire missiles and has promised to also send drones to the country, allegedly to combat al-Qaeda.
By boots on the ground, Kerry was referring to US troops, as opposed to al-Qaeda boots on the ground, which the US and the Saudis have already helped to mobilize, first in Syria, and now in Iraq.
That raises the seemingly bizarre scenario where the US is arming both sides in Iraq – the government and the al-Qaeda militants.
This should not, however, be seen as a contradiction, but rather as a cynical boon for the American weapons industry. First, create a terror problem, and secondly supply weapons to deal with that problem. That makes for a win-win outcome for American business.
None of this should be in the least bit surprising. The US has been working covertly with Saudi Arabia and British military intelligence for more than three decades to foster and fuel al-Qaeda extremists, beginning in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union from the late 1970s until 1990.
Since then, al-Qaeda has served as a protean ideological cover for imperialist predation in the Middle East and beyond. It has undergone many reinventions with mercurial name changes along the way. But the bottom line is that it is a Western/Saudi creation, which alternates between an enemy of convenience and a ruthless proxy for waging regime change.
The old Western ruse of “enemy” may have worked a few years back. But now the contradictions are playing simultaneously and in neighboring countries in such way that the ruse is exposed as a blatant lie.
Kerry and his Saudi terror cronies may like to fool themselves, but they are fooling no one else.