7 Jun 2017

Trump’s Middle East Foreign Policy Disaster Waiting To Happen

Today’s post will focus on Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, a revolting spectacle which I could barely bring myself to follow. It all started Saturday morning as I tried to enjoy a beautiful day with my growing family and parents who were in town for a visit. My day was more or less ruined upon witnessing the appalling scene of Trump and his top advisors dancing with the rulers of the terrorist sponsoring state of Saudi Arabia while clutching swords. I’m sorry for doing this to you, but in case you missed it…America Has Become a Total Joke
By Michael Krieger: The main thing we learned from Trump’s grotesque, orb clutching spectacle of a visit to the 9/11-funding absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, was that our demented President essentially green-lighted the Saudis to do whatever the heck they want in the Middle East. Considering Saudi Arabia is effectively being run by a 30-something princeling with sociopathic tendencies, absolutely nothing good can come of this. While Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East was an unmitigated humanitarian and geopolitical disaster, it appears Trump’s doing his best to one up his predecessor.
Saudi Arabia is the most dangerous entity in the Middle East, and the writing’s been on the wall for a long time. In fact, German intelligence warned about it back in 2015. As The Telegraph reported:

Saudi Arabia is at risk of becoming a major destabilizing influence in the Arab world, German intelligence has warned. 
Internal power struggles and the desire to emerge as the leading Arab power threaten to make the key Western ally a source of instability, according to the BND intelligence service. 
“The current cautious diplomatic stance of senior members of the Saudi royal family will be replaced by an impulsive intervention policy,” a BND memo widely distributed to the German press reads. 
Saudi Arabia has previously been accused of supplying arms and funding to jihadist groups fighting in Syria, including Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
With Trump, the Saudis finally found someone ignorant enough to allow them to unleash endless, unaccountable regional chaos and we’re beginning to harvest the poisonous fruits of this foreign policy idiocy. For one thing, we see it with the Saudis initiating a short-sighted and hypocritical aggression against its wealthy, gas rich neighbor Qatar under the guise that it supports terrorists. Of course, this is laughable as the Saudis are the biggest exporters of terrorism and radical ideology on the planet, and also played an instrumental role in the attacks of 9/11.
As Northeastern University Political Science Professor Max Abrahms so accurately noted the other day on Twitter.

Anyone who knows anything about what’s going on in the world, and isn’t totally brainwashed by corporate media garbage, understands exactly how true the above statement is.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that we can’t even begin to grasp the medium and long-term implications of Qatar’s isolation, things have escalated even further with today’s ISIS attack in Iran.
We can learn a lot about how rapidly this situation could escalate by reading the following from the BBC:

Twin attacks on the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in the capital, Tehran, have killed at least 12 people and injured many more.
The assault on the parliament appears to be over, after hours of intermittent gunfire there. A suicide bomber detonated a device at the mausoleum.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Saudi Arabia was behind the attacks.
The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed it carried out the attacks, which would be a first in Iran.
Think about this for a moment. ISIS never attacked Iran before, but shortly after Trump returned from fondling an orb in Saudi Arabia all of a sudden there’s an attack there? This doesn’t just smell, it stinks to high heaven.

In a statement, the group said five of its fighters had taken part and warned of further attacks against Iran’s Shia Muslim majority.
President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s message was that “terrorism is a global problem”, and he called for “regional and international co-operation and unity”.
Gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs entered the parliament on Wednesday morning. Images from the scene showed a major security operation as forces surrounded the building.
At about 10:40 (06:10 GMT) attackers at the mausoleum in southern Tehran, which is dedicated to the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini, opened fire.
The governor of Tehran said one attacker there had detonated a suicide vest and another had been killed by security forces, state broadcaster Irib reports.
It is not clear whether the death toll of 12 includes the attackers, or whether the victims were killed at both incidents or solely at the parliament. 
About 40 people were injured in the two attacks, according to emergency services chief Pir Hossein Kolivand.
Iranian officials say they managed to foil a third attack.
IS said it had carried out the attack and later posted a video which showed what it claimed was footage from inside the parliament building.
BBC Persian’s Jenny Norton says that despite Iran’s active involvement in fighting IS in both Iraq and Syria, the Sunni group has not until now carried out any attacks inside Iran, and appears to have little support in this predominantly Shia country. 
However, our analyst says, in recent months the group has stepped up its Farsi-language propaganda efforts – targeting Iran’s restive Sunni minority.
An IS documentary-style video in March featured militants who were introduced as Iranian fighters in IS ranks based in Iraq.
This is the most serious terrorist violence in Tehran since the turbulent early years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 
It will come as a huge shock to ordinary Iranians, who have got used to living in a country which is generally far more stable and safe than most of its neighbours, our analyst says.
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani downplayed the events, describing them as a “minor issue”.
However, officials announced a nationwide state of emergency in response to the attacks.
Later, the Revolutionary Guards said the fact that IS had claimed the attacks “proved” that Saudi Arabia was behind them.
“This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the US President [Donald Trump] and the [Saudi] backward leaders who support terrorists,” a statement said.
Iran’s ally Russia condemned the attacks.
France also condemned the attacks, but some Western countries have appeared slow to react. There has been no word from Mr Trump, a fierce critic of Iran and its nuclear programme.
Has Trump still not condemned this latest terror attack? If not, why not? Is Iran really worse than ISIS now? Are some ISIS attacks more equal than others?
(Note: Since this post was published, Trump issued a statement on the attack, the contents of which are simply laughable given what we know about the origins of ISIS and which governments are responsible. 
The Hill reports:

President Trump issued a statement Wednesday afternoon condemning terror attacks in Tehran, and warning the Iranian government against sponsoring terrorism in an unusually forceful response.

“We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump said in the statement. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
Pot. Kettle. Black. Now back to the original post…
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that ISIS seems to have been pretty much created by Western intelligence agencies with Saudi and other Gulf country funding, something I’ve highlighted for years, but which continues to be exposed in greater detail. On Monday, I highlighted an extremely important article by Nafeez Ahmed and Mark Curtis in the post, Dear Great Britain – Blame Your Intelligence Agencies and Government, Not the Internet.
Today, Nafeez is back with additional mind-blowing details in his piece, ISIS Recruiter Who Radicalized London Bridge Attackers Was Protected by MI5. Here’s some of what we learned:

The terrorists who rampaged across London on the night of 3 June were part of a wider extremist network closely monitored by MI5 for decades. The same network was heavily involved in recruiting Britons to fight with jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Police have confirmed that Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba were the three terrorists shot dead after participating in a brutal van and knife attack in the London Bridge area.
According to press reports, both Butt and Redouane were longstanding members of the proscribed extremist network formerly known as al-Muhajiroun. After 9/11, the group operated under different names such as Shariah4UK, Muslims4Crusades and Islam4UK. Originally founded by Lebanese firebrand, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who was banned from returning the UK after the 7/7 attacks, the network was later run by Bakri’s deputy, Anjem Choudary.
Choudary was convicted in 2016 for supporting and encouraging support for ISIS.
Yet the press has largely ignored the extent to which Choudary’s uncanny freedom to operate in Britain, and to send British Muslims to fight in foreign theatres, was linked to his opaque relationship to Britain’s security services.
After travelling back to Libya in May 2011, one British fighter “was approached by two counter-terrorism police officers in the departure lounge who told him that if he was going to fight he would be committing a crime.”
The fighter provided them the name and phone number of an MI5 officer. Following a quick phone call to him, he was waved through.
“As he waited to board the plane, he said the same MI5 officer called him to tell him that he had ‘sorted it out’…
Another British citizen with experience of fighting in both Libya and in Syria with rebel groups also told MEE that he had been able to travel to and from the UK without disruption.
‘No questions were asked,’ he said.”
The ‘open door’ policy was designed to augment US and British support to opposition forces seeking to overthrow Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Funnelled through our allies, the Gulf states and Turkey, the bulk of this support went not to secular rebels but to hardline Islamist groups, including both al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Under this ‘open door’, as Curtis observes, “at least one London attacker and the Manchester bomber were able to travel to Libya to fight in Britain’s war.”
Since 2011, the primary figure responsible for recruiting Britons to fight in the Middle East and North Africa was Anjem Choudary.
Of the 850 Britons who went to join various insurgent groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya, most of them — fully 500 — had been recruited by Choudary to fight with ISIS. Choudary had also been linked to as many as 15 terror plots since 2001. These astonishing figures were revealed by the police after Choudary was convicted last year.
Sensitive ISIS documents corroborate the former al-Muhajiroun network’s crucial role in this British-ISIS terror funnel. The documents, leaked in early 2016, identified Choudary’s mentor — Omar Bakri Mohammed — as a sponsor of Britons trying to be inducted into ISIS.
Choudary’s role as a key instigator in the recruitment of British Muslims to join the ISIS jihad in Syria, occurred at precisely the same time that Britain’s security services were operating an ‘open door’ policy to augment the anti-Gaddafi and anti-Assad rebellions.
The official explanation of the failure to prosecute Bakri and Choudary for so long despite this track record is that the two were notoriously clever at appearing to staying on the right side of law. Supposedly, this meant that counter-terrorism officials found it difficult to build a case against them.
This narrative is problematic. Security sources speaking outside of official press statements have pointed to a somewhat different reality: that both Bakri and Choudary had ties to MI5.
In 2000, Bakri admitted training British Muslims to fight as jihadists abroad, boasting: “The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity.”
A year later, the private security firm set up by Bakri in cohorts with Abu Hamza — Sakina Security Services — was raided by police and eventually shut down. Speaking in Parliament at the time, Andrew Dismore MP claimed the firm sent Britons “overseas for jihad training with live arms and ammunition”. Bakri was not arrested, let alone charged or prosecuted.
To this day, it is not widely known that Bakri and his al-Muhajiroun network played a key role in facilitating the recruitment, radicalisation and logistics behind the 7/7 London bombings. The ultimate suppression of crucial evidence of this from government narratives, despite being mandatory reading for all legal counsel during the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest, has granted the group virtual free reign.
Thus, Omar Bakri’s acolyte and deputy, Anjem Choudary, led a similarly charmed life.
Days after Choudary’s terrorism conviction, Will Geddes — a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer who had investigated Choudary — revealed that prior to the proceedings, Choudary too had been protected by MI5.
The Telegraph reported that despite being at “the forefront of radical Islam in Britain” for 20 years:
“The security services repeatedly prevented Scotland Yard from pursuing criminal investigations against hate preacher Anjem Choudary… Met counter-terror officers often felt they had enough evidence to build a case against the radicalising cleric, only to be told to hang fire by MI5, because he was crucial to one of their on-going investigations.”
It was only in August 2015, after Choudary posted YouTube videos online which openly documented his support for ISIS, that he was eventually prosecuted. Prior to that, the police believed they had a watertight case, but the decision not to prosecute had come from MI5.
Geddes himself told the newspaper:
“I am gobsmacked that we allowed him to carry on as long as long as he did. He was up to his neck in it but the police can’t do full investigations on people if the security service say they are working on a really big job, because they have the priority. That is what they did constantly. While the police might have had lots of evidence they were pulled back by the security service because he [Choudary] was one of the people they were monitoring. It was very frustrating and did cause some tension but we were told we had to consider the bigger picture.”
Shoebridge had pointed out at the time that “this ‘turning a blind eye’ was actually consistent with the UK govt position of intensive overt and covert support of rebel groups in Libya and Syria in attempting to topple Gaddafi and Assad.” Turning a blind eye, he added, was also consistent with “a long record of the UK government allowing, using and facilitating Islamist extremists to destabilise ‘enemy’ states, from Soviet occupied Afghanistan in the 80s, through Bosnia and Chechnya, to Libya and Syria today…
I asked the Home Office to confirm whether Choudary was indeed an MI5 informant, and whether British authorities were aware of his recruitment of Britons to Syria — including the role of any of the London attackers as ‘foreign fighters’.
A spokesperson said: “We are not commenting on the individuals named while that investigation continues or responding to speculation.”
But if Geddes and Shoebridge are correct, then when Anjem Choudary — Britain’s top ISIS terror recruiter — was dispatching Britons to Syria, he was, in Geddes words, “allowed… to carry on” by Britain’s security services.
The decision not to prosecute Choudary was to have fatal consequences. In February, about half of the British fighters who had travelled to Iraq, Syria and Libya returned.
In November 2014, as Home Secretary, Theresa May said that JTAC, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, had raised the threat level for international terrorism from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’, indicating that an attack on the UK was believed to be “highly likely.” May’s announcement clarified that the threat level was lifted primarily due to the threat from 500 British nationals who had largely fought with ISIS.
So what do we know? We know for certain that until fairly recently ISIS and other terrorist groups were used as allies by both the U.S., UK and Saudi Arabia to achieve geopolitical goals (regime change in Libya and Syria). Now that blowback has come home to roost, especially in the UK, governments are trying to backpedal and cover it all up. The main question now is whether ISIS is actually an independent terrorist group, or still works on behalf of the U.S., UK and Saudi Arabia to destabilize the Middle East. Given the recent inaugural ISIS attack in Iran so soon after Trump’s Saudi ass-kissing tour, the answer seems fairly obvious.
All these developments provide further evidence that World War 3 is already well underway. One of the primary battle grounds is naturally the resource rich Middle East, where Saudi Arabia and Iran appear destined to battle to the death over regional supremacy. The U.S. is foolishly and aggressively involving itself in this fight, and even worse, taking the side of Saudi Arabia despite the following.

This will not end well for the USA.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger


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