Turkish government helped ISIS terrorists


This video is about ISIS killing truck drivers for religious sectarian reasons.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

August 12 2014

REYHANLI, Turkey — Before their blitz into Iraq earned them the title of the Middle East’s most feared insurgency, the jihadists of the Islamic State treated this Turkish town near the Syrian border as their own personal shopping mall.

And eager to aid any and all enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey rolled out the red carpet.

In dusty market stalls, among the baklava shops and kebab stands, locals talk of Islamist fighters openly stocking up on uniforms and the latest Samsung smartphones. Wounded jihadists from the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda offshoot also fighting the Syrian government — were treated at Turkish hospitals. Most important, the Turks winked as Reyhanli and other Turkish towns became way stations for moving foreign fighters and arms across the border.

“Turkey welcomed anyone against Assad, and now they are killing, spreading their disease, and we are all paying the price,” said Tamer Apis, a politician in Reyhanli, where two massive car bombs killed 52 people last year.

See also here.

Hundreds of thousands on US government’s ‘terrorist’ list


This 2008 video from the USA is called US Has Nelson Mandela On Terrorist List.

By Tom Eley in the USA:

US terror list ensnares hundreds of thousands

6 August 2014

Over 40 percent of the 680,000 people on the US government’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) have “no recognized terrorist affiliation,” according to leaked classified documents obtained by journalist Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept.

The government adds names or new pieces of information to existing records at a clip of 900 items per day, according to the leaked document. It is unclear how individuals wind up on the terrorist list. Watch-listing standards published previously by the Intercept reveal that agents only need an undefined “reasonable suspicion” and not “concrete facts,” let alone “irrefutable evidence.”

Names on the TSDB are shared with police agencies across the US, private contractors, and foreign governments. The list is used to enforce no-fly orders and can lead to detention when individuals are stopped for routine traffic violations or asked to submit identification to law enforcement in other circumstances.

At 280,000, “no known terrorist affiliation” is by far the largest category on the terrorist watch list. The slide which presents this figure does not attempt to explain how someone with “no known terrorist affiliation” ends up on a terrorism watch list.

The remaining nearly 400,000 individuals have some alleged connection to terrorist groups, at least as defined by the US government. This includes 73,000 with alleged ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq, and 63,000 allegedly connected to the Taliban in Afghanistan. There are a combined 43,000 with ties to Hamas and Hezbollah on the list, organizations whose primary “terrorist” activity is opposing Israel’s invasions of Gaza and Lebanon. There are 93,000 in another extremely dubious category, “Other recognized terrorist group affiliation,” without further explanation.

While the TSDB has long been held out by the Obama administration as a major weapon in defending the American people against terrorist attacks, it actually appears to be more of an adjunct to the US wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Only 5,000 of the 680,000 named are Americans, so the vast majority of those listed, if they are indeed Islamic terrorists, are unlikely to board an airplane or attack a government building inside the United States. They are far more likely to become the targets of a US air strike or drone missile attack in the countries in which they live.

Given the large number of “no known terrorist affiliation” living outside the United States, the TSDB would seem intended as a database to facilitate political repression by pro-US monarchies and military dictatorships, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, all of which have staged mass arrests and imprisonment of Islamic fundamentalist radicals.

As for the 5,000 on the TSDB list who are American citizens, the Intercept reports that the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the country, has the second highest number of individuals listed, after New York City. Houston, San Diego, and Chicago round out the top five US cities for “known or suspected terrorists.”

The prominence of Dearborn strongly suggests that Muslim Americans are being placed on the watch list simply because of their religion. This is reinforced by the report by Glenn Greenwald last month on the US targeting five prominent Muslim-Americans—including a Republican Party candidate and several former US government officials—for surveillance as terror suspects (see: “Snowden documents show US government spied on prominent Muslim-Americans”).

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) produced the document, which bears stamps reading “SECRET” and “NOFORN,” meaning the statistics on the TSDB were not to be shared with foreign governments, including US allies. Sharing the actual names of “suspects” must certainly have been done, given the preponderance of foreign nationals, more than 99 percent of the total.

A share of the data on the list has been gathered by illegally breaking into databases maintained by foreign governments in what the Intercept describes as a “previously unknown program, code-named Hydra,” operated by the CIA. Pakistan was targeted by Hydra in 2013. “Future initiatives will include additional targeted countries,” the document states.

The Terrorist Screening Database is part of a larger and more secretive terrorist watch list called Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). The document boasts that, as of June 29, 2013 the TIDE list had surpassed the one million name mark, “a testament to DTI’s hard work and dedication.” An unnamed official confirmed the figure to CNN. There are nearly 16,000 Americans on the TIDE list.

TIDE is managed by a virtually unknown government agency called the Directorate of Terrorist Identities, which operates within the NCTC, which in turn operates under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The NCTC was created to break down the constitutional wall separating the military and foreign intelligence from domestic policing functions. It draws from the FBI, the CIA, and the military’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Demonstrating the practical implications of this, the leaked document reveals that the Directorate of Terrorist Identities was “deeply involved with all aspects of the response” to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Since its formation in December, 2010, the Directorate of Terrorist Identities has added 430,000 names to TIDE, and deleted only 50,000. According to the Intercept, names on TIDE are shared “across the US intelligence community, as well as with commando units from the Special Operations Command and with domestic agencies such as the New York City Police Department.”

The list now includes 730,000 “biometric files,” the leaked document reveals, including facial images, fingerprints, and iris scans. The Directorate’s Biometric Analysis Branch (BAB) is obtaining facial images from driver’s license bureaus in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The report also discusses the expansion of what it calls “Non-Traditional Biometric Data.” Included in this surveillance category are “scars/marks/tattoos,” signatures and handwriting, and “DNA strands.” The TIDE list adds more than 200 “encounter reports” per day, of which an unquantified share are visa applications. A program called “Kingfisher Expansion” has screened over 4.6 million visa applications in since it “went live” in June 2013.

The White House declined to publicly comment on the leaked document, though unnamed Obama administration officials told CNN they have “concluded there’s a new leaker exposing national security documents in the aftermath of surveillance secrets disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.”

This seems virtually certain, given that the document obtained by the Intercept is dated August 2013, at which point Edward Snowden was in exile in Russia, without access to any US government secret files. This suggests that at least one individual in the US intelligence apparatus, and possibly many more, has been inspired by Snowden’s courageous example to share information on what the US government is doing behind the backs of the American people.

The overriding concern of the White House and the intelligence agencies will be to find and punish the official who turned the documents over to Greenwald. The Obama administration has prosecuted more government whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined. Intelligence officials and politicians have called for the killing of Snowden and Greenwald.

The administration has previously claimed that the growth of TIDE—and the so-called “no fly list” which has been increased by a factor of ten since the Bush administration—is in response to Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, the so-called “underwear bomber.” Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab was allowed to board a plane in Amsterdam for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, despite being on the TIDE list and identified as a fanatical Islamist by his own father, who went to the US embassy in Nigeria to report him.

This follows the pattern set by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, when repeated warnings by FBI agents and foreign intelligence agencies were ignored, setting the stage for the deadliest terrorist attacks in US history. While no one was ever punished, or even reprimanded, for opening the door to the 9/11 attacks, the tragic loss of life at the World Trade Center and Pentagon became the pretext for the massive attack on democratic rights which followed, in the name of the “war on terror.”

The Intercept revelation is the latest confirmation that the “war on terror” has nothing to do with terrorism. Its purpose is to create a massive surveillance apparatus that will be deployed against the working masses the world over.

The Australian government yesterday announced far-reaching new “anti-terrorism” measures, and, appealed for “national unity” to fight an alleged threat of terrorist atrocities: here.

German neo-nazi terrorism trial continues


This video says about itself:

Neo-Nazi murder trial begins in Germany

6 May 2013

Members of an alleged neo-Nazi cell in Germany have gone on trial for the murder of 10 people, mostly immigrants. The main defendant is 38-year-old Beate Zschaepe. She is accused of helping establish the National Socialist Underground. The group is allegedly responsible for a decade-long string of racially motivated murders and bombings, as well as at least 15 armed bank raids. Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull reports from Munich.

By Dietmar Henning in Germany:

German neo-Nazi trial: Why is Zschäpe silent?

28 July 2014

The judge in the trial of members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) last week rejected a request by the main defendant, Beate Zschäpe, to dismiss her public defenders.

On July 16, Zschäpe told a police officer in the Munich Higher Regional Court that she had lost confidence in her three lawyers. She confirmed this with a nod when asked by the court’s presiding judge, Manfred Götzl.

Since the three, Wolfgang Heer, Wolfgang Stahl and Anja Sturm, are court-appointed public defenders, Zschäpe cannot fire them herself. That decision rests with the court.

Judge Götzl called on Zschäpe to give a written explanation of the circumstances pertaining to the loss of confidence, which Zschäpe then did with the help of a fourth lawyer. Last week, the judge denied her request and ordered the trial to continue.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Zschäpe had especially criticised the fact her attorneys had not directed all the questions to witnesses that appeared to her to be important. “Her discontent had apparently been aroused by the questioning of the witness Tino Brandt the previous week,” the newspaper wrote.

As an undercover agent of the Thüringia state Office for Protection of the Constitution (the state Secret Service), Brandt established the Thüringia Homeland Security (THS), using money provided by the authorities. The THS was the precursor to the far-right NSU, which went on to kill nine people in racist-motivated crimes. It also killed a female police officer and carried out bomb attacks on immigrants.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung reported on Brandt’s testimony under the headline, “NSU Trio Received Money from the Secret Service.”

Brandt testified that as a result of a phone call from someone in the far-right milieu, he found out that the NSU trio of Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt had gone to ground. He began to raise money for the three, initially among neo-Nazi regulars in bars and at a concert. However, the donations dried up, and Brandt turned to the authorities. He said “the state of Saxony had donated—six, seven times.”

The Leipziger Volkszeitung made clear that Brandt was referring to payments given him by the Secret Service that were meant for the NSU. The newspaper reported that the presiding judge asked whether the money was expressly meant to be passed on to the trio, and Brandt replied, “As far as I can recall, it was directly meant to be handed on.”

The undercover agent testified that he could not remember clearly the exact amount that was disbursed or the identity of the contact person to whom he passed on the funds. However, he had earlier boasted that he had received some 200,000 German marks from the Secret Service and used it to build up right-wing organisations.

The trial has been ongoing for 130 days, but the main accused, Zschäpe, has refused to testify, on advice from her lawyers exercising her right to silence. It is significant that her petition to sack her lawyers was made directly after the questioning of Brandt.

It is quite possible that Zschäpe either would like to testify or wants her attorneys to press more aggressively on the question of Secret Service collaboration with the NSU and the far-right milieu more generally. On this issue, she likely would have much to say.

It is now a matter of record that the far-right element, including the THS and the NSU, would not have been able to develop in the way that it did without the support of various branches of the secret services. The findings of three judges of the Supreme Court more than 11 years ago, which led to the termination of proceedings to ban the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD), apply no less to the THS, NSU and the entire far-right milieu. The three judges found that the influence of state bodies on the NPD was so great that that its actions had to be “spoken of as an affair of state.”

It is now well known that the federal and state organs of the Secret Service (BfV and LvF), the Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD), and the Berlin State Criminal Police (LKA) had infiltrated at least 24 people into the immediate periphery of the NSU.

In April 2006, when the 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was shot in an Internet café in Kassel, Andreas Temme was present, the leader of Hesse state’s Secret Service undercover operations. A few hours earlier, he had met with one of his undercover agents, who was in the city and in contact with Thüringia.

Temme himself is no stranger to far-right views. In his home town, he was called “Little Adolf.” In searches of his house, passages from Hitler’s Mein Kampf were found.

The two NSU members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were known to the police and the secret services since the mid-1990s. In 1995, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service spoke to Mundlos to win him as an employee and informer.

In November 1997, the Thüringia state Secret Service observed Mundlos and Böhnhardt purchasing possible bomb components. Two months later, the police searched a garage rented by Zschäpe and found a functioning bomb workshop. Böhnhardt was present and was able to drive away in his car unhindered.

Subsequently, the three terrorists allegedly went to ground. The same year, the Gera state prosecutor allowed telephone recordings that Böhnhardt had made in the four weeks following the search of the bomb-making garage to be erased.

The leader of the far-right music label “Blood & Honour” in Saxony, Jan Werner, was, as early as 1998, in close contact with the three fugitives. Carsten Szczepanski, an undercover agent of the Brandenburg state Secret Service, code-named “Piato,” was active in the NPD and had been sentenced for the murder of an asylum seeker. He reported that Werner had personal contact with Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe. Werner had the job of “supplying the three fugitives with weapons,” he said.

Werner, in turn, was in telephone contact with a mobile phone registered to the Saxony state Interior Ministry, according to the Thüringia investigation report. On August 25, 1998, about seven months after the trio had gone to ground, Werner sent his contact person in the Interior Ministry a text message asking, “Hallo, what’s happening with the bums?” He inquired whether the Secret Service had procured weapons for him.

In the underground, the three fugitive terrorists were helped by the neo-Nazis André Eminger and Holger Gerlach, who are presently in the dock alongside Zschäpe, as well as the former NPD functionary Ralf Wohlleben and Carsten S.

It is on record that countless clues pointing to the whereabouts of the three terrorists were never followed up.

It is unclear to what extent other Secret Service operatives and undercover agents were in contact with the NSU terrorists between 1998 and 2011. Important undercover agents were prevented from giving evidence, and many files were withheld, redacted or shredded.

On November 4, 2011, when Mundlos and Böhnhardt supposedly committed suicide, Zschäpe disappeared for four days. On November 8, she presented herself to the Jena police. Just two hours later, the leader of the “procurement” section in the department for right-wing extremism at the federal Secret Service, Lothar Lingen, began looking through the files. (The term “procurement” refers to the gathering of information—i.e., the recruitment of undercover operatives in the far right.)

The very next day, Lingen ordered the destruction of the first file. As of July 4, 2012, the federal Secret Service alone had destroyed a total of 310 files containing thousands of documents.

It is impossible to draw a line separating the actions of the right-wing radicals and neo-Nazis, on the one hand, and the role of the state on the other.

This in no way diminishes the crimes of Böhnhardt and Mundlos, who most probably committed the murders. Zschäpe is also culpable. But there is truth in what the father of Mundlos said in court, when he asserted that without the Secret Service and its informers, his son would not have “slid into the right-wing scene.”

The role and responsibility of the state and its intelligence agencies in the crimes of the NSU are clearly not to be addressed in the Munich proceedings. “No state secrets can be made known that would undermine government activities,” Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, deputy leader of the Secret Service from 1996 and later a state secretary at the Interior Ministry, told a parliamentary committee of inquiry in 2012. Fritsche has since been promoted to Secret Service adviser in the Chancellery.

Of what state secrets was he speaking? Which fascists worked and continue to work for the Secret Service? Possibly Beate Zschäpe?

In November 2011, the Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote that Zschäpe had worked for the Secret Service in Thüringia. The indication had come from the Thüringia state Criminal Police. She had supposedly obtained information for the authorities about the right-wing scene—i.e., she worked as an undercover informant.

For this reason, she was protected by the Thüringia state Secret Service. During this time, Zschäpe had used five different aliases.

The Thüringia state Secret Service, which had generously financed Tino Brandt, disputed this presentation. It claimed that although there had been contact with Zschäpe, and her recruitment as an informant had been considered, this had not been done because of her instability and drug use. (In April of this year, a witness before the Munich court who knew Zschäpe since 1992, and who had had an affair with her for a short time, testified that alcohol and drugs had been “a red rag” for the defendant).

The fact is that in several interrogations in the summer of 1996, Zschäpe had already passed on information to the authorities about the right-wing milieu. “I want to work with the police,” she told officials in Jena on August 5, 1996. Jena was where she turned herself in 15 years later.

It is also a fact that on November 4, 2011, just one-and-a-half hours after she had blown up the flat she shared with her two accomplices, Zschäpe received a call from a mobile phone belonging to the Saxony state Interior Ministry. The ministry evidently had her number on speed dial.

If Zschäpe was an undercover informant, she cannot break her silence without putting herself in mortal danger. She would not be the first person to die under mysterious circumstances since the beginning of the trial.

See also here.

Racist Breivik’s mass murder remembered in Norway


This video from Britain is called Breivik & The EDL Leadership – Tommy Robinson & Alan Lake.

From The Local in Norway:

3 years on: Norway remembers Utøya

Published: 22 Jul 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Updated: 22 Jul 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Many people across Norway will honour the victims of the July 22nd 2011 attack on Oslo and the island of Utøya.

77 people were killed and around 90 wounded in the terror attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik.

On Tuesday, Oslo marks the third anniversary of the massacre with a public forum at government headquarters, at the water mirror towards Akersgata. It will be opened by John Hestnes, assistant leader of the National Support Group, formed after the killings.

Following this, the AUF (Workers’ Youth League) chairman, Eskil Pedersen, and prime minister Erna Solberg will make speeches. The prime minister will lay down a wreath, and there will be a minute’s silence to remember the victims. Representatives from the Norwegian government and parliament will be present.

There will be a performance by Norwegian pianist and singer Maria Mohn.

At 12am there will be a service of hope in Oslo cathedral. Crown Prince Haakon will be present among others.

The full Oslo event will be broadcast directly across Norwegian media.

Across Norway’s municipalities, wreaths will be laid down at memorial stones for the 77 people killed in the attacks on the government quarters and on Utøya island.

In Trondheim, there will be a memorial ceremony in the city hall park at 2pm.

The Norwegian prime minister will take part in a special memorial ceremony on Utøya at 4pm on Tuesday. The National Support Group and AUF will join Labour Party chairman Jonas Gahr Støre, AUF chairman Eskil Pedersen and leader of the support group, Trond Henry Blattmann. All will make speeches.

Saudi government help for Isis extremists in Iraq


This video from the USA is called Willful Deceit: Michael Moore Speaks Out on The Iraq War Anniversary, Bush Crimes.

It says about itself:

24 March 2013

Bush Perverted, Distorted and Tarnished America’s Image Beyond Repair.

This video from the USA is called Bandar Bush. About Saudi royal and secret police boss Prince Bandar, nicknamed ‘Bandar Bush’ because of his close relationship to the Bush dynasty in the USA.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

World View: A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany

Patrick Cockburn

Sunday 13 July 2014

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as “spoils of war”. Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”.

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.

Dearlove’s explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shia by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6’s view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the Isis-led Sunni rebellion, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove’s speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that “is essentially Muslim on Muslim”. Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.

The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shia in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shia that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them. “The Shia in general are getting very frightened after what happened in northern Iraq,” said an Iraqi commentator, who did not want his name published. Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists.

Dearlove says that he has no inside knowledge obtained since he retired as head of MI6 10 years ago to become Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. But, drawing on past experience, he sees Saudi strategic thinking as being shaped by two deep-seated beliefs or attitudes. First, they are convinced that there “can be no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam’s holiest shrines”. But, perhaps more significantly given the deepening Sunni-Shia confrontation, the Saudi belief that they possess a monopoly of Islamic truth leads them to be “deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom”.

Western governments traditionally play down the connection between Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist faith, on the one hand, and jihadism, whether of the variety espoused by Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida or by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Isis. There is nothing conspiratorial or secret about these links: 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was Bin Laden and most of the private donors who funded the operation.

The difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis can be overstated: when Bin Laden was killed by United States forces in 2011, al-Baghdadi released a statement eulogising him, and Isis pledged to launch 100 attacks in revenge for his death.

But there has always been a second theme to Saudi policy towards al-Qa’ida type jihadis, contradicting Prince Bandar’s approach and seeing jihadis as a mortal threat to the Kingdom. Dearlove illustrates this attitude by relating how, soon after 9/11, he visited the Saudi capital Riyadh with Tony Blair.

He remembers the then head of Saudi General Intelligence “literally shouting at me across his office: ‘9/11 is a mere pinprick on the West. In the medium term, it is nothing more than a series of personal tragedies. What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and remake the Middle East.'” In the event, Saudi Arabia adopted both policies, encouraging the jihadis as a useful tool of Saudi anti-Shia influence abroad but suppressing them at home as a threat to the status quo. It is this dual policy that has fallen apart over the last year.

Saudi sympathy for anti-Shia “militancy” is identified in leaked US official documents. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in December 2009 in a cable released by Wikileaks that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.” She said that, in so far as Saudi Arabia did act against al-Qa’ida, it was as a domestic threat and not because of its activities abroad. This policy may now be changing with the dismissal of Prince Bandar as head of intelligence this year. But the change is very recent, still ambivalent and may be too late: it was only last week that a Saudi prince said he would no longer fund a satellite television station notorious for its anti-Shia bias based in Egypt.

The problem for the Saudis is that their attempts since Bandar lost his job to create an anti-Maliki and anti-Assad Sunni constituency which is simultaneously against al-Qa’ida and its clones have failed.

By seeking to weaken Maliki and Assad in the interest of a more moderate Sunni faction, Saudi Arabia and its allies are in practice playing into the hands of Isis which is swiftly gaining full control of the Sunni opposition in Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, as happened previously in its Syrian capital Raqqa, potential critics and opponents are disarmed, forced to swear allegiance to the new caliphate and killed if they resist.

The West may have to pay a price for its alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, which have always found Sunni jihadism more attractive than democracy. A striking example of double standards by the western powers was the Saudi-backed suppression of peaceful democratic protests by the Shia majority in Bahrain in March 2011. Some 1,500 Saudi troops were sent across the causeway to the island kingdom as the demonstrations were ended with great brutality and Shia mosques and shrines were destroyed.

An alibi used by the US and Britain is that the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain is pursuing dialogue and reform. But this excuse looked thin last week as Bahrain expelled a top US diplomat, the assistant secretary of state for human rights Tom Malinowksi, for meeting leaders of the main Shia opposition party al-Wifaq. Mr Malinowski tweeted that the Bahrain government’s action was “not about me but about undermining dialogue”.

Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community’s protector against Sunni counter-revolution.

But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. “I guess they just didn’t believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad,” said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.

Of course, US and British politicians and diplomats would argue that they were in no position to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. But this is misleading. By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.

The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north and the official al-Qa’ida representative, Jabhat al-Nusra, are faltering under the impact of Isis forces high in morale and using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is also, without the rest of the world taking notice, taking over many of the Syrian oil wells that it did not already control.

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.

As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target. It is the unnamed head of Saudi General Intelligence quoted by Dearlove after 9/11 who is turning out to have analysed the potential threat to Saudi Arabia correctly and not Prince Bandar, which may explain why the latter was sacked earlier this year.

Nor is this the only point on which Prince Bandar was dangerously mistaken. The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.

The Sunni caliphate rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Several million Sunni in and around Baghdad are vulnerable to attack and 255 Sunni prisoners have already been massacred. In the long term, Isis cannot win, but its mix of fanaticism and good organisation makes it difficult to dislodge.

“God help the Shia,” said Prince Bandar, but, partly thanks to him, the shattered Sunni communities of Iraq and Syria may need divine help even more than the Shia.

Libya news update


This video says about itself:

Tawergha: Libya‘s Ghost Town

8 Nov 2011

In October, Refugees International visited Tawergha, Libya from which all 35,000 inhabitants of the town were forced to flee after Misrata brigades ransacked the area.

By Aya Elbrqawi, 28 February 2014:

Libya: Slow Death of Derna

Benghazi — Derna residents live a life of fear. Al-Qaeda has transformed their eastern Libya port city into a new base for its global campaign and as the prime export centre for jihadists.

Known for its long history of fierce fighters and proud tribes, Derna has faced relentless violence. Now it will not have a say in national governance because it is too unsafe to vote.

The night before last week’s constituent assembly elections, six polling stations were struck by bombs. The High National Election Committee (HNEC) had rescheduled the ballot for Wednesday (February 26th), but the Derna Local Council said elections could not be held since no one was securing the polling centres.

Dozens of protesters have stormed Libya’s parliament building, shooting and injuring two lawmakers and wounding several others. The protesters were contesting the interim parliament’s decision to extend its mandate: here.

A French engineer has been shot dead in the Libyan city of Benghazi, hospital sources said Sunday. The man, so far unnamed, was shot as he was working on extension work at Benghazi Medical Centre: here.

Unidentified gunmen shot an Egyptian worker in Libya’s city of Benghazi on Sunday, leading to his injury, state-owned agency MENA reported: here.

Already buffeted by lawlessness and seemingly unending political turmoil Libya is now facing budgetary and energy crunches, say top officials: here.

With all the attention being paid to Ukraine, Venezuela and other geopolitical hot spots, energy investors may take their eye off Libya, whose oil production has derailed and may not come back anytime soon: here.

At the heart of the Libyan capital, the open-air Fish Market was once a place where residents went to buy everything from meat and seafood to clothes and pets. Now it’s Tripoli’s biggest arms market, with tables displaying pistols and assault rifles. Ask a vendor, and he can pull out bigger machine guns to sell for thousands of dollars: here.

Three years after Gaddafi, Libya is imploding into chaos and violence: here.

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