Thursday, October 30, 2014

THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS by Ghassan Kadi

THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS:
Ghassan Kadi
30 October 2014
As the “War On Syria” unfolds and new chapters emerge, new scenarios of winners and losers appear on the horizon. And as the danger on Syria has not yet subsided, despite the many victories of the Syrian Army and its supporters, an optimistic analysis that is based on a Syrian victory leaves many questions unanswered as who will be the other likely winners and who will be the losers.

Without a shadow of doubt, a Syrian victory will mean a victory for Syria, its government and its people. But regionally, it will also mean a victory for Hezbollah and Iran, and globally, it will mean a victory for the “new” new world order, and specifically for Russia and its new stake in the globe.

In retrospect, all of the enemies of Syria will end up as losers, and the struggle between them now is a face-saving exercise; each trying to be the lesser loser and even possibly a de-facto winner.

At this point in time, no party within Syria’s enemies is angling for a big win as much as ISIS. They were promised by Bandar, with an American guarantee, to be handed over the affairs of the whole state of Syria to run. When that plot failed, ISIS decided to take over not only Syria, but also Iraq. A partial gain for them, that they would settle for, would be control of eastern Iraq and western Syria. How will this pan out will depend greatly on how serious is the global effort to stamp out ISIS.

America cannot end up an outright winner for as long as Russia keeps digging in its heels. A “regime change” in Syria is no longer attainable. The most opportune window for an all-out attack on Syria closed in September 2013 in the wake of the chemical weapons attack that was allegedly perpetrated by the Syrian Army. The redline that Russia drew back then has not dissipated in the sand, and the deterrence of the combined rocket power of Syria and Hezbollah against Israel in retaliation to any such attack on Syria has not wavered one bit.

America hopes that its recent “intervention” in bombing ISIS territories is going to be a game changer, but a keen and rational analysis of developments on the battle ground plus all the political posturing, clearly indicates that America has not yet decided which party to favour and which to overrun. That said, America will keep Israel’s security in its field of vision. It cannot and will not allow Israel to be showered by tens of thousands of rockets. America cannot and will not allow Israel to pay the price and be a loser, and it will therefore not engage in an all-out war against Syria.

But here is the catch, America is shuffling its own regional interests with its genuine fear of a much-stronger-and-more-far-reaching-than-Al-Qaeda ISIS, Israel’s security, Turkey’s obstinance and hidden agendas and its commitments to Al-Saud and the Gulfies. Knowing and realizing that only a miracle will see it reaching a proper balance and a win for itself and all of its allies, America will soon have to let go of some of them thereby denigrating them to the level of fateful losers.

In all likelihood, America’s sacrificial lamb will be the Saudi throne. It has already become a heavy burden and an increasingly growing embarrassment. The power broker on the ground will be Turkey. America wants to punish ISIS but needs Turkey’s help to do it, but this will mean a Kurdish upper hand and Turkey will not allow the Kurds to end up as victors. Most likely, America will give up striking ISIS and call it “mission accomplished”, in GWB style, leaving behind a mess resulting from a stealthy Turkish support to ISIS. With a surging ISIS popularity within Saudi Arabia and an ISIS controlled region to this north, it won’t take long for the House of Saud to go tumbling down.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Danger of Not Knowing the Islamic State (IS). By Ghassan Kadi 29 October 2014

THE DANGER OF NOT KNOWING THE ISLAMIC STATE (IS) :
By Ghassan Kadi
29 October 2014

I know that I have expressed views in recent times that go against the mainstream of the mindset of many friends of Syria. As a result, I had to weather quite a bit of harsh criticism, but this will not stop me from going on. I have serious concerns about the turns of the recent events, and I humbly believe that my opinion is based on a broader-than-average exposure to different angles of the crisis in Syria. I am not forcing my views on anyone, and all I am hoping for is that my views can shed more light about the underlying issues behind the IS, as there seems to be a fair deal of misconception about what it is and who directs it, and much of this is the direct result of the confusion caused by the rather big number of Islamist organizations and sponsors.

 
It is easy to get bogged down in the details of which organization, the name of its leader, his association with different sponsors, why and when different leaders and the followers rebunk from one organization to another. All of those complications mask the simple reality behind what the current IS state all about.


IS is a new name, but in reality not different from its Islamic fundamentalist predecessors. The origin can be traced back in recent history to Wahhabism, but on examining the roots, it can be traced back to a very ancient fundamentalist Fukih (theology) that is based on false interpretations of the Holy Quran. Such theology is much more ancient than Wahhabism and even European settlement in America. Hence, the United States of America and the CIA cannot be held accountable for its existence.


Wahhabism adopted and sponsored such pre-existing radical views, but it did not “invent” them. The discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia meant that the Saudis were able to sponsor and finance Islamic schools that taught this perverted version of Islam. The Saudi funds were not spent only on preaching, but also on military training and setting up militia groups in different regions of the world. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the invasion was seen by Islamists as the attack of a “Kafir” (heretic nonbeliever) Communist nation on a Muslim nation. As a result, and in accordance with a Brzezinski-initiated plan, Afghanistan became a fertile ground for Jihadis, Saudi funds and American support.


At that point in time, the Islamists and the Americans found common interests. Even Bin Laden was on America’s side during this stage. This alliance however was not a permanent mark as some insist and refuse to see otherwise. The Al-Qaeda/American alliance broke up when America put boots on Saudi soil leading up to Operation Desert Storm in 1991. To Bin Laden that was a redline. To him, the Muslim Holy Land was not to be desecrated by “Salibyin” (Crusaders).


Those who were fixated on seeing Bin Laden as an American lackey, especially those who could not understand his many speeches let alone be able to listen to them, could not understand the underlying nature of the conflict that turned Al-Qaeda from an ally of the Americans to a fierce foe. In all of his speeches, which were never translated into English in their entirety, Bin Laden had one single demand from the Americans, and that was for them to leave the Islamic land in general and the Islamic Holy Land in particular.


When the Americans refused to listen to this seemingly powerless and harmless man, America was targeted, and a REAL war took place between the former allies. The American invasion of Afghanistan and specifically the Tora Bora battles were not a Hollywood action movie.


To even imagine that those were divertive actions with some sort of hidden agendas cannot be substantiated by either hardcore evidence or deep analysis. Such inaccurate conclusions are not uncommon. When people do not understand any given observation, they tend to give it many false interpretations in an attempt to explain it. We can only go back to the days when humans thought that earth was flat and examine all the explanations they gave for sunrise and sunset.


To even imagine that the Islamists (whatever name they give themselves) are grouped together and work only and solely under the direct command of the United States is wrong and dangerous. It is wrong because its underpinning ideology is a theology that is many centuries old. It is dangerous because it deflects attention from the real culprit; and the culprit is that theology and not the United States.


Afghanistan and Syria had many interesting similarities, and just like the Islamist/American alliance fell apart in Afghanistan, it fell apart in Syria; albeit for different reasons.


In a different Syrian-based scenario, the gallant Syrian Army did not allow the “War On Syria” to go according to plan. Chess pieces began to tumble and by the time prince Bandar Bin Sultan lost his position as head of Saudi intelligence, the plot to topple Syria’s government was felled and different members of the Anti-Syrian Cocktail began to find their own way to get some form of a consolation prize.


By then, the Islamists who were brought into Syria by Bandar and the USA were very weary of broken Saudi and American promises of being handed over the affairs of the Syrian state to run under Sharia law. They felt they had to break loose and this is why they targeted their first attacks on the Iraqi oil fields, Mosul banks and Iraqi Army warehouses. Having achieved this, they became able to self –finance.


It was at that stage that the Saudis and Americans realized that Islamists they have trained and supported to fight in Syria have gone solo and can now threaten both American interests and the Saudi throne. Any failure to see this with clear vision diverts attention and effort.


In the meantime, as many continue to focus on the false belief that the “War On Syria” is going according to plan and that the USA and the IS are one, the IS continues to capitalize on its victories and lure more and more recruits.


America now well knows that it was a grave mistake to believe Bandar when he assured it that he could switch the Islamists on and off at will. It knows that the danger of the current fall-out with IS exceeds by many folds the dangers of the previous fall-out with Al-Qaeda. The Americans know that they now have “common interests” with the Syrian Government, but they are too cocky to admit it publically.


America did not only lose control of the IS, but also that of Turkey. Erdogan has his own regional aspirations that are totally at odds with both his NATO allies and former allies in the Anti-Syrian Cocktail.


Some words I used recently were taken out of context. To prevent such recurrence, I have to clarify that I am not calling for collaboration with the United States. All I am saying is that Syria and the West have now common interests in having a common enemy; the IS. Normally, such shifts result in shifts in alliances, and this is a matter of policy makers.


What is most pertinent here is that fighting the IS entails nipping its ideology in the bud, where is festers within decayed and ancient fundamentalist Islamist theology. Any diversion from this focal point of attention is dangerous and can lead to disastrous consequences.

 

To be a Caliph or not to be a President. By Ghassan Kadi 25 Oct 2014

TO BE A CALIPH OR NOT TO BE A PRESIDENT
This is Erdogan's question.
25 October 2014
Ghassan Kadi


No one can say with certainty what is exactly the nature of the "difference" between the regional policies of Qatar and KSA. People often look for very complex clues and miss out the obvious. In this context, the obvious seems to be about "who has the upper hand".

Qatar is "two tents and a camel", as a colloquial Arabic proverb puts it, but it wanted to rise to prominence, a prominence that can guarantee the continuity of the ruling family. They are small and weak, and their only strength is financial. They lured/accepted to have their soil as a base to attack Iraq, because having US bases in Qatar gives it security; or so they think.

The Saudis do not want anyone to rival their religious and regional leadership, and for this reason "only" perhaps they don't like the metamorphosis of Qatar from a nothing-state to an aspiring regional leader.

Because Qatar needed strong regional allies, it went to Sunni Turkey for support.

It is hard to know exactly what Erdogan was promises, but one can guess what he really wanted. There is a general belief in Turkey, especially amongst the Islamists, that Turkey should lead and rule the Muslim World like it did before for 400 years. Erdogan wants to re-establish a Turkish Empire that includes present day Turkey, all of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, and the whole Arab Peninsula. In Arabia, he will have Mecca in the West and oil in the east.

He will promise Israel safe borders and an end to any struggle against its sovereignty. That said, he may later on turn around and try to capture Jerusalem.

When it comes to the Turkish-Qatari coalition, we cannot be sure who approached who first, but they needed each other nonetheless. Qatar needed a regional Big Brother, and Erdogan was happy to get the Qatari money.

Erdogan kept his big dreams to himself. It isn't hard to believe that he was only promised a very small prize, a token such as secure borders with Syria under new leadership. But he already had secure borders with Syria. More than likely, Erdogan must have fooled everyone to believe that he was prepared to do all what he was asked to do for virtually no or little benefit for himself. As a big Muslim leader and as a NATO member, he seemed to oblige for no clear gain, but deep down inside, he had a much bigger fish to fry.

Once again, as the Anti-Syrian Cocktail failed to topple Assad, each member went solo trying to get a consolation prize, each on his own, knowing that they are not going to get any support from the former allies.

Right now, Erdogan is happy with the stalemate around Kobani. This buys him time and the hope that he will be offered some prizes. That aside, he would much prefer ISIS to win than the Kurds. It is also easy to believe that he wishes for ISIS to expand and take over KSA. The outcome of this will be very much to his advantage. On one hand, that royal family will get out of his way, paving his personal aspirations of Islamic leadership, and secondly, if and when the world get together and decide to kick ISIS out of Arabia, only a Sunni army will be allowed to do it, and only Turkey will fit that bill, and there will be nothing more for Erdogan to wish for other than being invited by the West to invade and capture Mecca. This will be his Turkish revenge to the events of a century ago.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

JACK OF MANY STATES, SULTAN OF NONE. Ghassan Kadi

JACK OF MANY STATES, SULTAN OF NONE
Ghassan Kadi
8 October 2014


As the once united Anti-Syrian Cocktail breaks apart, the Americans are now trying hard to save face in their attempts to be seen fighting terrorism. The gaff of the goof says it all, and for any whichever reason Biden made his anti-allies statement against Turkey and the Gulf States, and regardless how many apologies follow his statement, fact remains that the once united allies are falling apart as a result of their diverging common interests and concerns.


With or without its regional allies, America can no longer allows the IS to grow further and attain more power. It has to step in when the IS declared divorce and went for its own kill after Bandar’s failure to provide it with the Syrian throne. The Saudis on the other hand are now turning their concerns to the home front with the rising dissent to their rule and growing enormous support for the IS. Qatar’s role is waning as it gets isolated and even probably coerced into partaking in the US-led anti IS coalition.


Most of Syria’s enemies seem to be having a second take and redrawing the lines as they have been moved and misshapen by the outcome of the war on Syria and the rise of the IS. The only wild card now is Turkey.


Turkey seems to have a leg in every corner. Singling out only Syria as its enemy, Turkey has good relationships with both Israel and its arch-enemy Hamas. It supported the deposed Egyptian President Mursi and his version of Muslim Brotherhood, and despite his hostility towards the person of President Sisi, Erdogan remains popular in Egypt. Furthermore, notwithstanding its many historic incursions into Northern Iraq, Turkey somehow manages to keep rather good relationships with Iraq.
Turkey facilitated the entry of fighters and their supplies into Syria. With the recent developments in the last few weeks, Turkey did not take any measures to indicate that it was interested in joining the newly-formed US-led coalition against terror. This looks rather cynical given that countries as far as Australia have pledged support.


And even though the current Turkish government spearheads the inter-Muslim sectarian divide and fuels anti-Shiite passion, it managed to keep good relationships with Iran; something that admittedly casts a question about the willingness of Iran to reciprocate to such bond. It would be good to believe that both major regional powers are trying to work together on preventing an escalation of an all-out expanded sectarian war, but indications that Turkey continues to fuel that divide.


Furthermore, the state that was turned overnight by Ataturk from the capital of the Muslim Khilafet to a westernized secular nation that almost banned Islam, found it natural to join NATO later on. But even though Turkey is now headed by a rigid Islamist who has the aspirations of returning his nation to its former glory both as a regional power and as a super Islamic state, it is still a member of NATO. But this is not all, Turkey has good relationships with Russia.


There is little doubt that Turkey clearly sees that its Anti-Syrian allies are walking away from their joint war efforts empty-handed. Turkey however remains adamant to seek a win for itself out of the Syria war. As it wasn’t able to achieve much with its Qatari friends and co-sponsors, Turkey could well be gleefully watching the fire spreading under the hay within Saudi Arabia in the hope that the IS would remove Al-Saud from the throne. It is possible that Erdogan wishes for the IS to expand and take over Saudi Arabia. After all, an IS-based government in Arabia will round up most of the world to have it removed. Turkey’s advantage in such a scenario will arise from the sensitivity of Mecca and the Islamic Holy Land. Only Sunni Muslim soldiers will be able to have boots on the ground in Hijaz (the Western sector) and perhaps Turkey sees itself the perfect and only candidate for the task, thereby stretching its sphere of influence and control to most of the former Ottoman Empire.


Whatever Erdogan’s real intentions and aspirations are, sooner or later he will realize that he won’t be able to hold his cards close to his chest any longer. He will not be able to continue to remain silent and make advances on all fronts all at once. Somehow or another, he will have to jump. Should he decide to act militarily unilaterally, this good and balanced quote says it all:

“I could see NATO spurning Turkey's request for military intervention if Turkey unilaterally violates Syria's sovereignty. Such a probability would most certainly provoke a Syrian retaliation, and would draw Russia and Iran into the war, a scenario that NATO is unwilling and unable to sustain.” (Christopher Assad).

Monday, October 6, 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part VI. Ghassan Kadi.

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part VI.
By Ghassan Kadi
5 October 2014


This is the final chapter in this series of short articles. Very briefly, the history of the House of Saud was exposed from its inception till this moment in time. The story is not over yet as history is still in the making.


The main focus here has been on the trilateral relationship between Al-Saud, the USA and the Jihadis. The 3 parties are highly linked, but unlike what many believe, they are not at all identical and should not be regarded as a triangle that always operates under the unconditional command of the Whitehouse. If anything, this latter perspective does not only end in misunderstanding the current situation, but also diverts attention from the real issues and how to address them.


It is hoped that some myths have been dispelled and that reader is now better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
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The Saudi Dilemma:
Let us rewind a bit and remind ourselves how the House of Saud came to power.


Al-Saud rode on the back of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam. They claimed to be the only state of puritan Islam regarding states that do not enforce Islamic regulations in every single day-to-day affair and aspect to be heretic.


They forced women to cover up, banned them from driving, banned them from education until King Faisal revoked this decision to the dismay of many clerics. They established the “Jamieat Al-Amr Bi-Almaarouf”, which is primarily a consortium of hardline clerics (Moutawein, ie reformers) that roam the streets carrying canes literally lashing people and coercing them to go to prayer, lashing women if they see any visible skin and the men who accompany for allowing them to show skin. The Moutawein were given great power. No one would dare oppose them or stand up to them. They had the free mandate to cane anyone in any public forum for any reason they see fit. Even attempting to run away from their cane was an offence, a serious punishable offence.


Saudi Arabia banned alcohol. Caned Muslims if found drinking and deported non-Muslims if caught. A country without a real judicial system, the testimony of two men accusing a third of adultery was enough reason to have him beheaded without a trial.


All of such atrocities, and many others, were conducted in the name of Islam, and Al-Saud reveled in being the protectors and defenders of this form of Islam which does not tolerate any leniency at all.


Whenever the royal family ran into any political dilemma, it went and sought counsel (Fatwa) from its head Mufti and abided by his advice, all for the sake of upholding real Islam; so they claimed.
Any popular dissent within Saudi Arabia was quickly and harshly dealt with under the Sharia-approved legitimacy of the Fatwas. When the perpetrators were caught, they were described as enemies of Islam, heretics and beheaded, all with the approval and blessing of the Wahhabi clergy. Al-Saud made it look like they were under the direction of the clergy and that they were the executors not the decision makers.


When the Wahhabis established their Madsaras overseas and their brand of Islam became more and more accepted in the entire Muslim World as well as the West in areas of high Muslim density, Al-Saud found in this a great advantage to their throne. The reason being the fact that initially, the Wahhabi version was highly unacceptable in the Muslim World to the extent that it was ridiculed. Saudi Arabia felt threatened to find itself surrounded by moderate secular states, even though Sunni Islam is the predominant religion of their population.


Radicalization whirpooled Saudi Arabia into deeper radicalization.


When the War on Syria started, the Saudis were finally capitalizing on the efforts of the last few decades of radicalizing their own population as well as Muslims outside their kingdom. In the eyes of many, this was Al-Saud’s moment to walk the talk.


Al-Saud were hoping the Bandar’s failures would need lead to the Jihadists declaring divorce. But when the Jihadists went a step further and established a Khilafet (Islamic state in which the ruler, Khalif, is considered as the successor of Prophet Mohamad), Al-Saud knew well that there is no Khilafet without the control of Mecca. The declaration of Khilafet was tantamount to declaring war on Al-Saud and their throne.


Several Youtube videos pictured unknown Jihadi fighters threatening Saudi Arabia and Gulf states. These threats were not to be taken lightly.


Domestically, Jihadists have a huge amount of Saudi support; especially amongst the new generation of educated youths. After all, it was the funds and direction of their government that has created that drive for radicalization.


When Al-Saud realized that the Jihadist have declared divorce and war on their throne, they had two options; either to sit back and face the inevitable outcome or fight them.


If they took for the first option, they would most likely lose their throne. The time and opportunity for negotiating with the Jihadists had expired. On the other hand, the royals were not in a position to conjure up a Fatwa that legitimized killing Muslim fighters that have only been following the direction of Wahhabi teachings.


This was a lose-lose moment for Al-Saud. They must have pondered in length and depth about what to do next, but finally they decided to join the US-led coalition to attack the Jihadis in Iraq and Syria.
Whichever way those raids go and develop into within Syria and Iraq, they have started an avalanche of events within Saudi Arabia. Back in 1991, it was bad enough for America to invite the “Crusader Infidels” and allow them to put their boots on the ground for Bin Laden to declare war on the royals. Now, more than twenty years later, Al-Saud are actively engaged in killing Jihadi fighters along with the “Crusader Infidels”. This will not be forgiven or taken lightly.


Dissent within Saudi Arabia has never been stronger. The royals have committed an act of treason against Islam; the foundation on which their legacy and the whole kingdom is underpinned. They have crossed the line that cannot be crossed and they will not be able to find or buy any justification that will be widely accepted.


Lines are now getting drawn within Saudi Arabia between supporters of Al-Saud and fundamentalists. The Jihadis, and ISIS in particular have a huge Saudi popular support base. There are rumours about similar support within the armed forces.


No one really knows what percentage of Saudis are in favour of ISIS as against those in favour of the royals. Figures of 50-50 have been estimated by some. In the absence of proper opinion polls, no one can be certain how the Saudi population is divided, and how this division is finding its way into the power hierarchy.


How will this pan out at the end? No one knows. The Saudi royals would wish that it would go away, but it won’t. Three years ago, they were poised at creating a regime change in Syria. To even imagine that this is still on their agenda is quite laughable indeed when they have their own necks on the chopping board.


Three years ago, Al-Saud wanted to create a Civil War in Syria. For a while, they did create a huge war on Syria, but they failed in turning it into a Civil War. At this moment in time, it is highly likely that the only Civil War that they will manage to create, is the one that will burn their own throne.

THE END
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part V. By Ghassan Kadi 4 Oct 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part V.
By Ghassan Kadi
4 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.


It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
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The Second Divorce:
The successive Syrian Army wins that followed the Qusayr win in the western regions of Syria, the lack of Bandar’s ability to pull a new trick out of a hat to save and reward his Jihadists plus the unwillingness of America to pitch in militarily, all of these factors combined, left the Jihadists high and dry. They had to make their win happen for themselves independently from their suppliers and financiers.


This was the reason for the second divorce, and many analysts are missing this very crucial point and have thus become unable to understand the underlying factors behind the recent developments and the US-led raids on ISIL bases in Syria and Iraq.


For ISIS to go solo, as it were, it needed its own finance.


Israel runs on the principle of looking at obstacles in terms of force. If a certain amount of force is unable to resolve the obstacle, then more force will. In a similar manner, Saudi Arabia looks at obstacles in terms of money. Saudis believe that they can buy anything and anyone; including President Putin. They created ISIS with money, and they could suffocate it if they cut off the funds, should they need to.


No one can be certain whether or not the Saudis reduced or stopped financing ISIS, but seemingly, the latter was one step ahead. Their recent capture of key Iraqi positions, oil wells, as well as a huge stash of military hardware was a windfall that came from heaven.

Just like Bin Laden got so frustrated when the Saudis did not kick the “Crusader Infidels” from Arabia following Operation Desert Storm and went solo using his own funds and declaring divorce with the Saudis and Americans, so did ISIS following its cash stash and hardware grab in Iraq. This was the pertinent change that enabled ISIS to start acting independently, and this was when the serious rift between the main players within the Anti-Syrian Cocktail began to escalate openly.

The issue of who is Baghdadi (the declared ISIS leader) really is, and whether or not he is even real, a Hollywood fabrication, a puppet, a Mossad agent, or any of the other descriptions and theories that have floated around recently is quite irrelevant. Often, some analysts forget to keep reminding themselves that the actual Jihadi fighters are heavily indoctrinated people who are prepared to blow themselves up in the pursuit of their “divine objective”. Those fighters needed a win, and their leadership, regardless of who heads it, had to provide that win.


America was beginning to smell a rat, serious trouble long before the ISIS takeover of Mosul. The Americans initially truly believed that Bandar was able to switch the Jihadists on and off at will. American foreign policy makers are foolish, very foolish, but to actually believe that they easily accepted to deal with and support Jihadists after the Al-Qaeda experience is equally foolish. However, they received firm and iron-clad assurances from Bandar who was highly trusted and respected by his American friends. Bandar was seen by the Americans as perhaps the only Saudi royal who was rational and able to have rational discussions with them. The American understanding of the deal that included the Jihadist was pragmatic and based on the understanding that it would be very easy to rally up Sunni fundamentalist fighters in the name of Jihad against Assad. America was adamant not to put boots on the ground, and Bandar assured the American administration that there was no need at all for America to do so when he can amass hundreds of fighters, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands if needed to do the job. All they needed was funds, to which Saudi Arabia and Qatar happily obliged, Western support and a Western media charade to create false flags when needed. America could not resist the temptation.


To add to America’s concerns was its embarrassment about stories of beheading and desecrating ancient Churches in Syria before the takeover of Mosul. The viciousness of the Jihadists in Syria was no longer something that Western media could ignore. America found itself in a position in which it suddenly had to draw some lines; albeit unclear and non-realistic when the American Administration started referring to “moderate” Syrian “rebels” as against the fundamentalists. In doing so, America was not only trying to save face and to distant itself from being seen as supporting Al-Qaeda-type organizations, but it was grooming the media for a change in its tact and approach towards dealing with the Jihadists.


With the American-Jihadist history and previous experiences, a second divorce was pretty hard enough to work out the details of. Muscle and brawn were put on standby. The much more difficult divorce was the one that was about to happen between ISIS and Al-Saud.


The Saudi royals have painted themselves in a corner and they had to jump either in support of ISIS, or turn around and fight it. Either way, they would be signing off a suicide pact.
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In the next chapter, we shall look at the Saudi dilemma.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part IV. Ghassan Kadi

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part IV.
By Ghassan Kadi
4 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.


It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
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The Bandar Blunder:
 Bandar thought that he had the perfect plan and the right personnel to execute it. With his position as the head of the Saudi Intelligence, the bottomless Saudi funds and the regional support of the GCC (mainly Qatar), Turkey and Israel, needless to mention the depth he can get from the muscle power of America, should need be, his plot to topple the Syrian government looked like an easy task.


Once again, and this cannot be over emphasized, the Anti-Syrian Cocktail was made up of many elements; each with its own agenda, and only united by their hatred to secular Syria and President Assad. To say and to promote the concept of an American umbrella that fully controls each and every player is a very simplistic manner of understanding the nature of what created the coalition and what ended up getting it undone.


This new cocktail was much more complex in its makeup than its trilateral predecessor that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. The new coalition included over and above the nations mentioned above, a virtually countless number of Jihadi organizations. In reality, all of those Jihadis were very similar, often swapping sides, only divided by who sponsors them; some loyal to Al-Saud and others to Al-Thani of Qatar.


The Americans wanted to control the wealth of the region and to bolster the security of Israel.


The Saudis wanted to secure the survival of the House of Saud. They regarded Iran, Syria and Hezbollah as a threat. Only able to think along sectarian lines, the Saudis were not able to understand the nature of the Axis of Resistance. They perceived it as an anti-Sunni coalition.


The fighters to make it happen were the Jihadis of different descriptions and names. They were promised the state of Syria to run as they please under Shria Law.


The Israelis wanted secure borders with both Syria and Lebanon. They wanted to topple the Syrian government and cut off the supply lines to Hezbollah as a first step towards crashing both major elements of the Axis of Resistance.


Turkey was beginning to make its regional moves after a slumber that lasted virtually for a whole century. PM Erdogan had his own dreams of restoring Turkey’s former glory as a regional power and usurper.


The coalition was joined by even little rival groups within Lebanon such as Hariri’s so-called 14th of March Coalition. They had a score to settle with both Syria and Hezbollah. They opened up the borders with Syria and formed a continuous line of supply of both fighters and ammunition into Syria. Their objective was to rid Lebanon from Hezbollah and to establish a pro-Western Lebanon.


None of the above members of this freaky Anti-Syrian Cocktail was actually Syrian.
When the war on Syria took a turn after the Syrian Army’s victory in Qusayr, Bandar began to get desperate. He wanted to achieve a military win at any cost. He met with Putin and tried to bribe him and when bribery failed, he threatened him with turning on the Chechen Jihadists and disturbing the Sochi Winter Olympics. Putin remained unfazed. He then resorted to the fabrication of the East Ghouta alleged chemical attack as a last resort to send the US crashing Damascus. Russia intervened and drew red lines and prevented the US from such a military gamble.

Before too long, Bandar’s plan failed and Bandar lost not only his cool, but also his dreams and stature. What was brewing on the horizon however was a monster that neither he nor the Americans anticipated.


The Jihadis who were looking for the prize of ruling Syria have suddenly realized that Bandar was not the man to deliver it. They felt that they were misled and abandoned by not only Bandar, but by the entire Al-Saud. To add oil to fire, when the Saudi royals realized the dismay of the Jihadis, they had to take measures to prevent them from entering Saudi Arabia. This further alienated the Jihadis from the Saudi crown.

These developments did not only impact on the relationship between the crown and the Jihadis, but it also had serious repercussions on Saudi soil.

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In the next chapter, we shall look at the rise of ISIS.

Friday, October 3, 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part III. By Ghassan Kadi 2 October 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part III
By Ghassan Kadi. 2 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.


It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
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Paternity Swap:
 When we talk about the trilateral relationship between Saudi Arabia, the Jihadists, and America, we must keep in mind that the matter is perhaps never black and white. There are many shades of grey, markings made in the sand, shifting dunes, and disappearing marks.


The events discussed in Part II of this series have put an end to the association of Bin Laden and his followers on one hand, and the Saudis and Americans on the other hand. Some analysts and conspiracy theorists doubt this fact and argue that this whole thing was a setup and a media charade. However, a realistic look at events clearly proves that the Americans did invade Afghanistan, and they did not go there to fight ghosts. They engaged in heavy battles with Al-Qaeda and the Talibans, and this is factual.


This however does not and did not mean that the Americans have severed ties with all Al-Qaeda-associated cells. Which ones remained unsevered is anyone’s guess.


What is more pertinent here is the fact that the concept of a rebirth of a new American-Saudi-Jihadist coalition was still feasible. All that was needed to make it happen again was a new enemy who united them all.


That common enemy was Syria.


This time however, many anti-Syrian players joined in and became part of the Anti-Syrian Cocktail. They all had their different agendas and scores to settle, but they were united by their hatred to secular Syria and its presidency.


This time around, the Jihadists needed a new “father” as it were. The father had to be a Muslim, someone with known and established loyalty to America, and most importantly, a sworn enemy of Syrian and her President. One man put his hand up for the job, got the approval of all involved, and his name was Prince Bandar Bin Sultan.


Unlike his predecessor Bin Laden, Bandar was a Saudi royal, and his loyalty to the throne was unquestionable. After all, he was grooming himself to be the first second generation king as thus far all Saudi kings have been the sons of King Abdul-Aziz; the founding king. The generation leap has to be done at some stage, and Bandar was hoping that who no one would better deserve to be the chosen one other than the prince who will bring victory in Syria.


Bandar was so adamant that not only his military gamble in Syria would win, but that he would also be able to control the Jihadists.


He even had the audacity to threaten Putin with the Jihadists, claiming that he was the one who was able to turn them on and off at will adding that if Putin did not comply, he would use redeploy his Chechen Jihadists within Russia.


The twist of events proved that Bandar was wrong on both counts. Firstly, his Jihadists did not have the necessary might to create a regime change in Syria, and secondly, soon enough, he has lost total control of the Jihadists that he trained and financed.
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In the next chapter, we shall look at the after effects of Bandar’s loss of control.

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD Part II. By Ghassan Kadi 1 October 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part II
By Ghassan Kadi. 1 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.


It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
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The Uneasy Alliance:
It is rather simplistic and naïve to see the Saudis and their Jihadists as pawns who will unconditionally take orders from their American masters, as some insist to describe them.
Like all alliances that are based on plotters of unwholesome intentions brought together by certain common interests, the Americans, Saudis and Jihadists “look united but their hearts are far apart”, as the Quran describes them (Surat 59, Verse 14).

What disunited this ever-changing alliance and continues to disunite it is perhaps much stronger than what keeps it together, and this is why this union had to reshape and reinvent itself over the years and decades in order to weather the ravages of change.

To begin with, the Americans never liked the Saudis. They regard them as volatile fools and savages who happen to be oil-rich. And even though the American foreign policy is virtually shameless, their strong “friendship” and alliance with the Saudis has always been an embarrassment. After all, Saudi Arabia is a country that has laws that virtually do not give women any respect and civil rights, a country that bans Christianity at all levels, and one that is most remote from democracy.


Historically however, Americans are used to such allies. They befriend despots at ease for as long as their strategic needs are met, and on that note, they are strategically at great dis-ease because the Saudis managed to keep one big secret away from the Americans; and that is the estimate of the Saudi oil reserve. The Americans suspect that the Saudi oil reserve is much less than the declared Saudi approximate estimate, and this makes the Americans very uncomfortable, to put it mildly.
Even before September 11, many Americans were shouting slogans such as “with allies like the Saudis, who needs enemies?”

After September 11, the American alliance with the Saudis became subject to greater domestic criticism. It was clear to see that many of the hijackers were Saudis and the flow of the funds that supported them pointed towards Saudi Arabia.

On the other side, The Saudis knew well that deep inside, Americans hate their guts and that they rob them and take advantage of their wealth in the meanest way feasible. They also regard the Americans as “Infidel Crusaders” and in more ways than one, they reciprocate similar passions towards the Americans as American do towards them, but then again, they both need each other.

The differences were laid to rest because of America’s thirst for oil and the Saudi paranoia about security and the survival of the House of Saud.

The duo would have been better able to manage their differences had it not been for the third party in that marriage; the Jihadists.

The First Divorce:
From the early days of the trilateral alliance, the Jihadists did not fully trust the Saudis, but the Saudi kept up the Muslim rhetoric and reinforcing that the two parties are united by Islam. The victory over the Soviets in Afghanistan was seen as one of divine intervention.

The alliance faced is first serious breaking point in the events leading up to Operation Desert Storm. When the Saudi monarch allowed the “Infidel Crusaders” (as seen by Bin Laden) to lay foot on the holy land of Arabia, that heralded the making of an irreconcilable divorce between the Saudi Royals on one hand, and Osama Bin Laden on the other hand.

The consequences of this event were extremely serious, and were also mirrored internally by the extreme Wahhabists who saw in the move of the crown an act of treason to Islam. As a result, dissent within Saudi Arabia grew stronger, including dissent amongst the new class of educated youths who are opposed to the Al-Saud oligarchy and squandering of wealth.

When Bin Laden failed to convince his Saudi partners not to invite the “Crusaders” into Arabia in the first place, and later on failed to convince them to ask them to leave after the completion of Operation Desert Storm, Bin Laden declared divorce with the Saudi royals and went solo, using his own funds to finance Al-Qaeda.

He declared war on America and Saudi Arabia and Al-Qaeda cells were uncovered all over the kingdom and many heads were severed. Most of this took event in a hush-hush way, because the last thing that Al-Saud wanted to see reported in the media is news of domestic dissent. That said, news of explosions that rocked the kingdom for an extended period of time could not be hidden from the eyes of world media.

Suddenly, but also expectedly, the group of Jihadists who were initially brought into prominence by the funds of Saudi Arabia, Brzezinski’s brain and American military expertise, declared mutiny on its backers and turned from being a reluctant ally into a highly charged foe.

The events leading up to September 11 and the subsequent American invasion of Afghanistan were the result of that divorce, and this is fact.

A lot has been said and written about September 11 and many conspiracy theories have been proposed. This is not an attempt to dispel them, but fact remains that the alliance of Al-Qaeda and the USA broke up as the latter went solo and embarked on the journey of seeking its own objectives. After all, Jihadists are highly indoctrinated individuals, and people do not undertake suicide missions if and when they are missionaries and/or paid pawns.


After the breakup of the American-Saudi-Bin Laden (ie Al-Qaeda) alliance, for any similar alliance to come to exist, it had to be totally rebirthed from scratch and the lines had to be redrawn from square one.
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In the next chapter, we shall look at the birth of ISIS and the major subsequent turning points leading up to the current situation in Iraq and Syria.

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part I By Ghassan Kadi 30 September 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD Part I
Ghassan Kadi
30 September 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.


It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
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The Rise of the Al-Saud Reign:

During his rise to power, the founder of house of Saud, King Abdul-Aziz (father of current King Abdallah) realized that he would find himself in a better position of power if he established a strategic alliance with the Wahhabis in his fight against his rivals Al Rashid.


The Wahhabis had a very strict version of Islam which many in Arabia then regarded as orthodox and puritan, and to be on their side was a badge of approval and endorsement and a reflection of religious piety. Moreover, Abdul-Aziz also needed the numbers because he only had a small army of 200 men of his own, and his ambitions went far beyond retaking Riyadh (his ancestral capital) that was taken from his family by their rivals; Al-Rashid. He wanted to be the ultimate ruler of the whole of Arabia.
After his success and ability to unite the regions of Najd and Hijaz and renaming the new kingdom after his family line; The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), with the discovery of oil in 1938, Abdul-Aziz grew more dependent on Wahhabis to keep his hold on power. In return, he had to bribe them with power and the mandate to run the Saudi streets as they saw fit, and they did. As a result, the Wahhabis imposed very strict laws such as forcing businesses to close their doors to business during prayer time and forbidding women from driving cars. But behind the public scene, the royal family used the Wahhabi clergy to get the religious Fatwas, ie mandate to rule and issue decrees that suited their agendas; all in the name of and under the guise of strict Islam.


Whilst the house of Saud held the actual government positions of power, that power was underpinned by the Wahhabi clergy. When the Wahhabi clergy wanted to send missionaries to spread its version of Islam outside the Saudi kingdom, the royals had to comply willingly or otherwise, and when the “infidel” Communist Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the disciples of Wahhabi Islam, both Saudis and non-Saudis, were charged, equipped and trained to go and fight.


The Saudi-Bin Laden-American Honeymoon:
It was at this stage that America first realized that it could use those Jihadi enthusiasts as pawns thereby capitalizing on the enemy of their enemy. That was Brzezinski’s idea, and he thought it was a brilliant plot because he did not know what he was dealing with and the danger of the monster that he was helping to grow.


The oil wealth was heaven-sent to Al-Saud, but with it came a huge amount of corruption and news of debauched behaviour of royals both at home and overseas. Many Saudi youths were growing furious with the royals and regarded them as a moral scourge, an embarrassment and as money embezzlers. Once again, the royals held to their guns by offering more bribes of power to the Wahhabi clergy, including more funds for their missionaries and military training camps.
With the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan, the Saudi royals found in Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi of Yemeni origin, an excellent recruit. The man had the religious drive and motivation, funds if he needed to personally dig into his own pocket, and above all, he was an excellent speaker and motivator.


The Americans knew the Bin Laden family quite well and the Bush family in particular had strong business relationships and friendships with the Bin Ladens. When the Saudi royals introduced Osama Bin Laden to the Americans as a war ally, the former neither liked nor trusted the latter from day one. In his eyes, they were the infidels who are, by divine decree, not to be trusted. Bin Laden however accepted to join hands with the Americans for he too wanted to get the best of the enemy of his enemy. After all, he had a mission and his prime objective was to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan.
For some to actually believe that the friendship and collaboration between America, Saudi Arabia and the Jihadists has always been totally and entirely under American control and direction is far from being accurate. This trilateral relationship has been subjected to many ups and downs and neither party trusted or liked the other. It was always am uneasy loveless marriage of convenience in pursuit of common goals.


In more ways than one, the marriage was successful and perhaps its biggest “achievement” has been the ability to raise an army of Jihadists that was big enough and tough enough to eventually lead to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. That said, it must also be remembered that the Soviet Union was on its last leg and its fighting spirit and ability made it much easier for its foes to defeat it.
But this was about to change very soon. Later developments have proven without a shadow of doubt that the trilateral alliance of the Americans, Saudis and the Jihadists was very fragile and one that was subject to constant flux.
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In the subsequent chapters, we shall examine the major changes over the last three decades and the unfolding of events leading up to the recent developments in Iraq and Syria.