Hitting Saudi Arabia Where It Hurts

Exclusive: Though faced with a global terrorism crisis, Official Washington can’t get beyond its neocon-led “tough-guy-gal” rhetoric. But another option financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia might help finally shut down the covert supply of money and arms to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As the Islamic State and Al Qaeda enter a grim competition to see who can kill more civilians around the world, the fate of Western Civilization as we’ve known it arguably hangs in the balance. It will not take much more terror for the European Union to begin cracking up and for the United States to transform itself into a full-scale surveillance state.

Yet, in the face of this crisis, many of the same people who set us on this road to destruction continue to dominate and indeed frame the public debate. For instance, Official Washington’s neocons still insist on their recipe for “regime change” in countries that they targeted 20 years ago. They also demand a new Cold War with Russia in defense of a corrupt right-wing regime in Ukraine, further destabilizing Europe and disrupting U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Given the stakes, you might think that someone in a position of power or one of the many candidates for U.S. president would offer some pragmatic and realistic ideas for addressing this extraordinary threat. But most Republicans from Marco Rubio to Carly Fiorina to Ted Cruz only offer more of “more of the same,” i.e. neocon belligerence on steroids. Arguably, Donald Trump and Rand Paul are exceptions to this particular hysteria, but neither has offered a coherent and comprehensive counter-analysis.

On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton wins praise from the neocon editors of The Washington Post for breaking with President Barack Obama’s hesitancy to fully invade Syria. Former Secretary of State Clinton wants an invasion to occupy parts of Syria as a “safe area” and to destroy Syrian (and presumably Russian) planes if they violate her “no-fly zone.”

Much like the disastrous U.S. invasions of Iraq and Libya, Clinton and her neocon allies are pitching the invasion of Syria as a humanitarian venture to remove a “brutal dictator” in this case, President Bashar al-Assad as well as to “destroy” the Islamic State, which Assad’s army and its Iranian-Russian allies have also been fighting. Assad’s military, Iranian troops and Russian planes have hit other jihadist groups, too, such as Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, which receives U.S. weapons as it fights side-by-side with Nusra in the Army of Conquest.

Clinton’s strategy likely would protect jihadists except for the Islamic State — and thus keep hope alive for “regime change” — explaining why the Post’s neocon editors, who were enthusiastic boosters of the Iraq War in 2003, hailed her hawkish approach toward Syria as “laudable.”

To Clinton’s left, Sen. Bernie Sanders has punted on the issue of what to do in either Syria or the Middle East, failing to offer any thoughtful ideas about what can be done to stabilize the region. He opted instead for a clever but vacuous talking point, arguing that the Saudis and other rich oil sheiks of the Persian Gulf should use their wealth and militaries to bring order to the region, to “get their hands dirty.”

The problem is that the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis along with the Turks are a big part of the problem. They have used their considerable wealth to finance and arm Al Qaeda and its various allies and spinoffs, including the Islamic State. Their hands are already very dirty.

Saudi ‘Hard Power’

What we have seen in the Middle East since the 1980s is Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states creating “hard power” for their regional ambitions by assembling paramilitary forces that are willing and even eager to lash out at “enemies,” whether against Shiite rivals or Western powers.

While the wealthy Saudis, Qataris and other pampered princes don’t want to become soldiers themselves, they’re more than happy to exploit disaffected young Sunnis, turn them into jihadists and unleash them. Al Qaeda (dating back to the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s) and the Islamic State (emerging in resistance to the U.S.-installed Shiite regime in Iraq after 2003) are Saudi Arabia’s foot soldiers.

This reality is similar to how the Reagan administration supported right-wing paramilitary forces in Central America during the 1980s, including “death squads” in El Salvador and Guatemala and the drug-tainted “Contras” in Nicaragua. These extremists were willing to do the “dirty work” that Reagan’s CIA considered necessary to reverse the tide of leftist revolution in the region, but with “deniability” built in so Official Washington couldn’t be directly blamed for the slaughters.

Also, in the 1980s, the Reagan administration’s hardliners, including CIA Director William J. Casey, saw the value of using Islamic extremism to undermine the Soviet Union, with its official position of atheism. The CIA and the Saudis worked hand in hand in building the Afghan mujahedeen an Islamic fundamentalist movement to overthrow the Soviet-backed secular government in Kabul.

The “success” of that strategy included severe harm dealt to the struggling Soviet economy and the eventual ouster (and murder) of the Moscow-backed president, Najibullah. But the strategy also gave rise to the Taliban, which took power and installed a medieval regime, and Al Qaeda, which evolved from the Saudi and other foreign fighters (including Saudi Osama bin Laden) who had flocked to the Afghan jihad.

In effect, the Afghan experience created the modern jihadist movement and the Saudis, in particular, understood the value of this paramilitary force to punish governments and political groups that the Saudis and their oil-rich friends considered threats. Officially, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni oil states could claim that they weren’t behind the terrorists while letting money and arms slip through.

Though Al Qaeda and the other jihadists had their own agendas and could take independent action the Saudis and other sheiks could direct these paramilitary forces against the so-called “Shiite crescent,” from Iran through Syria to Lebanon (and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, against Iraq’s Shiite government as well).

At times, the jihadists also proved useful for the United States and Israel, striking at Hezbollah in Lebanon, fighting for “regime change” in Syria, collaborating in the 2011 ouster (and murder) of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, even joining forces with the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government to kill ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

Israeli Role

Since these Sunni jihadists were most adept at killing Shiites, they endeared themselves not only to their Saudi, Qatari and Kuwaiti benefactors, but also to Israel, which has identified Shiite-ruled Iran as its greatest strategic threat. Thus, the American neocons, who collaborate closely with Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had mixed attitudes toward the Sunni jihadists, too.

Plus, high-profile terrorism, including the 9/11 attacks, enabled the tough-talking neocons to consolidate their control over U.S. foreign policy, diverting American fury over Al Qaeda’s killing nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington to implement the neocons’ “regime change” agenda, first in Iraq though it had nothing to do with 9/11, with plans to move on to Syria and Iran.

As the Military-Industrial Complex made out like bandits with billions upon billions of dollars thrown at the “War on Terror,” grateful military contractors kicked back some profits to major think tanks where neocon thinkers were employed to develop more militaristic plans. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Family Business of Perpetual War.”]

But the downside of this coziness with the Sunni jihadists has been that Al Qaeda and its spinoff, the Islamic State, perceive the West as their ultimate enemy, drawing from both historic and current injustices inflicted on the Islamic world by Europe and the United States. The terrorist leaders cite this mistreatment to recruit young people from impoverished areas of the Middle East and the urban slums of Europe and get them to strap on suicide-belts.

Thus, Al Qaeda and now the Islamic State not only advance the neocon/Israeli/Saudi agenda by launching terror attacks in Syria against Assad’s government and in Lebanon against Hezbollah, but they strike out on their own against U.S. and European targets, even in Africa where Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for last week’s murderous assault on an upscale Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali.

It also appears that Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have entered into a competition over who can stage the bloodiest attacks against Westerners as a way to bolster recruitment. The Bamako attack was an attempt by Al Qaeda to regain the spotlight from the Islamic State which boasted of a vicious string of attacks on Paris, Beirut and a Russian tourist flight in the Sinai.

The consequence of these murderous rampages has been to threaten the political and economic cohesion of Europe and to increase pressures for a strengthened surveillance state inside the United States. In other words, some of the most treasured features of Western civilization personal liberty and relative affluence are being endangered.

Yet, rather than explain the real reasons for this crisis and what the possible solutions might be no one in the U.S. mainstream political world or the major media seems able or willing to talk straight to the American people about how we got here.

Sanders’s Lost Opportunity

While you might have expected as much from most Republicans (who have surrounded themselves with neocon advisers) and from Hillary Clinton (who has cultivated her own ties to the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks), you might have hoped that Sanders would have adopted a thoughtful critique of Official Washington’s neocon-dominated “group think.”

But instead he offers a simplistic and nonsensical prescription of demanding the Saudis do more when that would only inflict more death and destruction on the region and beyond. Arguably, the opposite would make much more sense impose tough financial sanctions against Saudi Arabia as punishment for its continued support for Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Freezing or confiscating Saudi bank accounts around the world might finally impress on the spoiled princes of the Persian Gulf oil states that there is a real price to pay for dabbling in terrorism. Such an action against Saudi Arabia also would send a message to smaller Sunni sheikdoms that they could be next. Other pressures, including possible expulsion from NATO, could be brought to bear on Turkey.

If the West finally got serious about stopping this financial and military support for Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and their jihadist allies in Syria, the violence might finally abate. And, if the United States and Europe put pressure on the “moderate” Syrian opposition whatever there is of it to compromise, a political solution might be possible, too.

Right now, the biggest obstacle to a political agreement appears to be the U.S. insistence that President Assad be barred from elections once Syria achieves some stability. Yet, if President Obama is so certain that the Syrian people hate Assad, it seems crazy to let Assad’s presumed defeat at the polls obstruct such a crucial deal.

The only explanation for this U.S. stubbornness is that the neocons and the liberal hawks have made “regime change” in Syria such a key part of their agenda that they would lose face if Assad’s departure was not mandated. However, with the future of Western civilization in the balance, such obstinate behavior seems not only feckless but reckless.

From understanding how this mess was made, some U.S. politician could fashion an appeal that might have broad popular support across the political spectrum. If Sanders took up this torch for a rational plan for bringing relative peace to the Middle East, he also might shift the dynamics of the Democratic race.

Of course, to challenge Official Washington’s “group think” is always dangerous. If compromise and cooperation suddenly replaced “regime change” as the U.S. goal, the neocons and liberal hawks would flip out. But the stakes are extremely high for the planet’s future. Maybe saving Western civilization is worth the risk of facing down a neocon/liberal-hawk temper tantrum.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

55 comments for “Hitting Saudi Arabia Where It Hurts

  1. Richard Browning
    November 25, 2015 at 10:49

    This is an interesting article regarding Saudi Arabia but whenever I read where someone, including Robert Parry, still believes that some Arabs flying airplanes into the twin towers and the Pentagon I have to question if they know what they are talking about. It amazes me that Mr. Parry would continue with such propaganda.

  2. Chistopher
    November 25, 2015 at 10:07

    “As the Islamic State and Al Qaeda enter a grim competition to see who can kill more civilians around the world” – you forgot the United States of A – Vietnam, Irak, etc., etc.

  3. Evangelista
    November 24, 2015 at 22:57

    We need to move away from using the Mainstream Media sponsored religious-reference terminology to distinguish between the opponent sides in the middle eastern conflilct morass. “Sunni” and “Shiite” are more equivalent to “Baptist” and “Methodist” than even to “Catholic” and “Protestant”. The differences in the middle east today are political, not religious. The differences are, in fact, of when and how to deal with the situation that everyone Islamic in the middle east is equally disturbed by. Da’esh is a group that was perceived to take one side, the conservative, non-confrontation (with Israel) side, while the other, the help the Palestinians and damn Israel’s irritation side, was taken by Lybia, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Hesbollah in Lebanon. Da’esh turned out to be Puritan (which is anti-Islamic) and Russia changed the balance to give the Palestinian-helpers a chance. The Saudis are caught in the middle of the mess, having taken the side that went berserk, for solid conservative reasons that are now in the water.

    • Bob Van Noy
      November 26, 2015 at 13:48

      Your comments Evangelista, are really insightful and helpful. Thank you…

  4. MrK
    November 24, 2015 at 16:56

    Hillary Clinton and Bashar al-Assad agree: ISIS was funded by Saudi Arabia, and supplied from Turkey. Read both their interviews here.

  5. Abe
    November 24, 2015 at 15:32

    A Russian aircraft has gone down near the Turkish-Syrian border after an apparent attack. Turkish and Russian sources have given conflicting reports about the incident, which has the potential to escalate the tension between Russia and NATO member Turkey.

    Political analyst Pepe Escobar discusses Turkey’s links to ISIS and other extremist organizations in Syria

  6. David Smith
    November 24, 2015 at 15:22

    Abe, you underestimate me. Perhaps it is the “street” phraseology I prefer when talking boring geopolitics. I am not a Christian. There is no Gog, Magog, Antichrist, or Second Coming on the way. For the US Propertied Class the Armageddon Myth is simply a useful template to settle outstanding business with Russia and China, neither nation can be invaded so they must be “drawn out” and then crushed, as in the chess analogy you linked ( Cartolucci article, but he’s got it bassackwards). The best feature of the Armageddon Myth is it is imbedded in the subconscious of everyone in the West, christian or no, giving the plan a feeling of spooky inevitabily. It is no accident it is a feature of so many Hollywood films. Even you yourself had a loopy YouTube link at your fingertips. I would like to say your geopolitical type posts are very sharp and I have learned a lot from them

    • Abe
      November 24, 2015 at 15:58

      In fact, I much appreciate your comment and Mr. Sanford’s.

      The Armageddon Myth is one of the world’s oldest “True Lies” https://vimeo.com/37778618

      Considering the (same) cast of characters, the latest blockbuster from the Washington-Tel Aviv snuff porn franchise promises to be even more shockingly awful than the 2003 and 2011 sequels.

  7. Abe
    November 24, 2015 at 12:31

    In recent weeks with Russian air support, Syrian troops have retaken large swaths of territory from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist fighters. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has even begun approaching the Euphrates River east of Aleppo, which would effectively cut off ISIS from its supply lines leading out of Turkish territory.

    From there, Syrian troops would move north, into the very “safe zone” the US and its Turkish partners have long-sought but have so far failed to establish within Syria’s borders. This “safe zone” includes a region of northern Syrian stretching from Jarabulus near the west bank of the Euphrates to Afrin and Ad Dana approximately 90-100 kilometers west.

    Once Syrian troops retake this territory, the prospect of the West ever making an incursion into Syria, holding territory, or compromising Syria’s territorial integrity would be lost forever. Western ambitions toward regime change in Damascus would be indefinitely suspended.

    The endgame is at hand, and only the most desperate measures can hope to prevent Russia and Syria from finally securing Syria’s borders. Turkey’s provocation is just such a measure.

    Russia’s time, place, and method of retaliating against Turkey is something only the Kremlin will know. But Russia’s actions upon the international stage have been so far thoroughly thought out, allowing Moscow to outmaneuver the West at every juncture and in the wake of every Western provocation.

    For Turkey’s government – one that has been consistent only in its constant failure regarding its proxy war against its neighbor Syria, who has been caught planning false flag provocations to trigger wider and more direct war in Syria, and whose government is now exposed and widely known to be directly feeding, not fighting ISIS – the prospect of Russian retaliation against it, either directly or indirectly, and in whatever form will leave it increasingly isolated.

    Until then, Russia’s best bet is to simply continue winning the war. Taking the Jarabulus-Afrin corridor and fortifying it against NATO incursions while cutting off ISIS and other terrorist factions deeper within Syria would be perhaps the worst of all possible retaliations. With Syria secured, an alternative arc of influence will exist within the Middle East, one that will inevitably work against Saudi and other Persian Gulf regimes’ efforts in Yemen, and in a wider sense, begin the irreversible eviction of Western hegemony from the region.

    The West, already being pushed out of Asia by China, will suffer immeasurably as the world dismantles its unipolar international order, region by region.

    As in the game of chess, a player often seeks to provoke their opponent into a series of moves. The more emotional their opponent becomes, the easier it is to control the game as it unfolds. Likewise in geopolitics and war, emotions can get one killed, or, be channeled by reason and superior strategic thinking into a plan that satisfies short-term requirements but serves long-term objectives.

    Russian Warplane Down: NATO’s Act of War
    By Tony Cartalucci

    • F. G. Sanford
      November 24, 2015 at 13:53

      …or, summarized as they might put it on the streets of inner city Philadelphia, “Paybacks are three times even”.

    • Evangelista
      November 24, 2015 at 22:43

      I was expecting a Turkish Reaction. Apparently, Russia was not. Maybe they were expecting a ‘diplomatic’ or ‘show-of-force’ one, instead of Turkish-stupid, since they have had friendly relations and business dealings with Turkey.

      I was anticipating a ‘dog-fight’ at most, with a Turkish approach, attempting to ‘defend’ their fat-border, border-extension, exclusion-zone in Syrian airspace.

      Putin did not, after all, reveal whose tanker-trucks were moving all that Da’esh stolen oil (and not being sanctioned for the patent violation of the action). But now Turkey has, and has revealed, too, how much the cutting off of their ‘oil-fencing-operation’ revenues has, is, irritating them.

      So much for the serious part. The amusing part is the position Turkey’s precipitate action is putting NATO in: Who does NATO support? And how? Lip-service for everyone, of course, but action? Real Threat? They have now Turkey on one side (the Da’esh side, where the U.S. still is, but wobbling from buttock to buttock on the prickly broken-glass topping that fence) and France on the other side, the anti-Da’esh (and with the Syrian refugee problem, compounded by Da’esh al-Quaeda export terror ops, the ‘Preserve Syria’) side.

      How are they going to resolve that? Does EU home-state France have precedence? Or longer-term NATO member Turkey have precedence?

      Is NATO going to join the U.S. in supporting both sides?

      Stay tuned for the next exciting developments…

      [If you want to put money on the game, I suggest putting it on the Kurds, whose autonomous region ambitions (which would provide a buffer-zone between Turkey and Syria) are probably even now being given serious consideration

  8. David Smith
    November 24, 2015 at 12:28

    As Mr. Sanford says above, the poop is about to hit the fan……Just one problem left: How to get the Middle Kingdom in the rumble? The chinaman doesn’t like to leave China, sensibly prefers home and face time with those O So Sweet Chinese Girls (I do too). Maybe a swift USS Ford-class kick in their East China Sea will get the PLA marching west on the Silk Road.

    • Abe
      November 24, 2015 at 13:30

      It’s the Late Great Planet Earth!

      Gog and Magog will like march on the Holy Land,
      and then like the Anti-Christ will appear,
      and then there will be like this big battle,
      and then Jesus will like totally ride in on a mushroom cloud!


      • David Smith
        November 24, 2015 at 15:47

        Abe, you underestimate me,perhaps its the “street” phraseology I prefer for boring geopolitics. I am not a christian, there is no Gog, Magog, Antichrist, or Second Coming on the way. The US Propertied Class finds the Armageddon Myth useful for settling outstanding business with Russia and China. Neither can be invaded so the must be “drawn out” to be crushed, as in the chess analogy you linked to( the Cartalucci article, but he has it bassackwards). The best part of the Armageddon Myth is it is imbedded in the subconscious of everyone in the West, christian or no, giving the plan a feeling of spooky inevitability. Even you yourself had a link to a loopy YouTube video at your fingertips. It is no accident this myth is part of so many Hollywood films.I would like to say I find your posts in general very sharp and well informed and look forward to learning more from them in the future.

      • Abe
        November 24, 2015 at 19:25

        Christian Zionists dance the hora and prepare for end times in Washington DC

        Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States.

        Pastor John C. Hagee, Founder and National Chairman of CUFI, has stated that he will support the Israeli government unconditionally.

  9. F. G. Sanford
    November 24, 2015 at 09:50

    European TV stations are playing La Marseillaise non-stop, broadcasting douer funeral eulogiies, showing the tortured expressions on European faces, and interspersed among all this are clips from the ISIS propaganda video, “Flames of War”. That’s right – European State Television has become the principal distributor of ISIS propaganda. It’s a good idea to look up the English words to that French song made famous by the movie, “Casablanca” – it ain’t pretty, folks. Meanwhile, back in Damascus, reliable reports indicate that the US sponsored Al Qaida terrorists are collapsing on all fronts, and have called on their principal NATO benefactor, Turkey, to provide reinforcements. NATO may be considering sending Ukranian allied Chechen terrorists to assist them. Reports of a Russian plane shot down by Turkey in Syrian airspace suggest escalation to new international levels. Hold on to your sneakers, Consortium readers – the stuff is getting ready to hit the fan…

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 24, 2015 at 11:47

      Ah, none of that American corporate media propaganda effects me. I have the wife and kids nicely tucked away in our basement, and I have a loaded gun at each window, so no problem there. I’m ready, how about you? Oh, I also have plenty of duct tape.

      Just kidding, actually I can’t get over the wall to wall coverage of this terrorist story. Although, the Patriots won last night (lots of bad calls on both teams) and we taped Fargo, so I’m okay. CNN has totally become the terror network. Yeah, life in modern day America is truly interesting, isn’t it? Sorry, I got to run, and find my security blanket.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 24, 2015 at 12:34

      At first F.G., I didn’t know what you were talking about, a Russian plane being shot down, but over at Zerohedge.com they have videos of the parachuting Russian pilot being shot, as he parachuted to earth, by the rebels. This is not good.

    • Abe
      November 24, 2015 at 13:21

      Hey, lemme verify that for ya. ‘Cause I’m real good at verification.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 24, 2015 at 14:44

      I guess we’re about to find out just how crazy (or sobered up) the BHO administration has become.

      It appears to me that the Turks ambushed the Russian fighter-bomber, and had also prepped their Good Terrorists as well. The latter seem to have been very well equipped with cameras to record all aspects of the event. The Good Terrorists are also reported to have some TOW missiles. Was this planned too – to also ambush the rescue helicopters? Possibly they carried the murdered crewmen’s radios to a ‘killing zone’ to lure in the choppers.

      Given how the US puppet state Ukraine has been making waves lately, and threatening to make more, a paranoid type like myself suspects the Obama Neocons are behind all of this.

      One wonders if NATO (other than the hopeless Brits) will get on board with the clamor for WWIII too.

  10. November 24, 2015 at 04:20

    Though she may not be right up there with the leading torches, Tulsi Gabbard does sit on both the Armed Forces and Foreign Affairs committees. In spite of having served Iraq two times in her role as a National Guard, she was against the war from the start. She really seems to have a grasp on military matters, as well as what is happening in the rest of the world. Yet, to read most US media outlets you´d have a hard job knowing anyone with real alternatives exists, or so it seems from here in Europe. It´s high time the US alternative media began searching out the bright stars among its politicians, instead of always judging the same tired, old faces the corporate media dishes up for them without offering some of their own. Let US voters know there are still politicians left who possess enough morals, decency and courage to do the best for all Americans, as well as the rest of the world.

    • Bob Van Noy
      November 24, 2015 at 08:25

      We would love to accommodate you Bryan Hemming but we still have an issue with the coup d’état that occurred on November 22, 1963…

    • Gregory Kruse
      November 24, 2015 at 09:39

      That would be great having our alternative news sources cheerleading for some up-and-comers. We could give them cherry positions on the staff of writers. You do remember Sarah Palin.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 24, 2015 at 11:34
      • Brendan
        November 24, 2015 at 15:04

        “Black voiced disappointment that the United States answered the Russian assistance for Syria by sending anti-tank TOW missiles to terrorists, which would only prolong said, criticizing the folly of arming “good terrorists” and withholding weapons from “bad terrorists,” adding that the irresponsible deployment of TOW missiles threatens aviation around the world, as anti-tank weapons have long range and can target and destroy passenger planes that are taking off.

        He said that as a Senator for Virginia, he feels worry because such missiles can find their way to remote areas near airports like Reagan National Airport and Dallas International Airport, adding that he relayed these concerns to the American President.”

        Senator Black wasn’t just letting his imagination run wild when he wrote that. Today a TOW missile was used to shoot down a helicopter on a rescue mission to find survivors from the Russian jet fighter that was shot down by Turkey.

        The helicopter seems to be have been quite a distance away. A passenger plane would be a much easier target.

    • Abe
      November 24, 2015 at 14:47

      Oy! Red Alert!

      One or two U.S. politicians with a grasp of military matters have opened their mouths on national media!

      This may metastasize, encouraging others to jump off the Christian-Zionist Love Boat, ad we can’t have that.

      Gotta act fast! Shoot down a Russian plane! Crank up the hysterics! Cut to the panel of “terrorism experts”! Call up a few of our “ISIS” friends, get them on a plane bound for America, and hit them where we know it hurts!

  11. Abe
    November 24, 2015 at 03:04

    The imperial military and ideological apparatus for direct intervention was firmly in place by 2000. It led to a prolonged series of wars in multiple geographical locations, involving long-term, large-scale commitments of economic resources, and military personnel and was completely unhampered by congressional or large-scale public opposition – at least in the beginning. The ‘objectives’ of these serial wars were defined by their principal Zionist and militarist architects as the following: (1) destroying regimes and states (as well as their military, police and civil governing bureaucracies) which had opposed Israel’s annexation of Palestine; (2) deposing regimes which promoted independent nationalist policies, opposing or threatening the Gulf puppet monarchist regimes and supporting anti-imperialist, secular or nationalist-Islamic movements around the world. Blinded by their imperial hubris (or naked racism) neither the Zionists nor the civilian militarists within the US Administrations anticipated prolonged national resistance from the targeted countries, the regrouping of armed opposition and the spread of violent attacks (including terrorism) to the imperial countries. Having utterly destroyed the Afghan and Iraqi state structures, as well as the regime in power, and having devastated the economy as well as any central military or police capacity, the […] imperial powers were unable to set up a stable and loyal client regime, backed by a unified state apparatus with a monopoly of force and violence, after having deliberately shredded these structures (police, bureaucracy, civil service, etc) during the invasion and early occupation. The creation of this “political vacuum” was never a problem for the Zionists embedded in the US Administrations since their ultimate goal was to devastate Israel’s enemies . As a result of the US invasions, the regional power of Israel was greatly enhanced without the loss of a single Israeli soldier or shekel. The Zionists within the Bush Administration successfully blamed the ensuing problems of the occupation, especially the growing armed resistance, on their ‘militarist’ colleagues and the Pentagon ‘Brass’. ‘Mission Accomplished’, the Bush Administration Zionists left the government, moving on to lucrative careers in the private financial sector.

    Under President Obama, a new ‘cast’ of embedded Zionists have emerged to target Iran and prepare the US for a new war on Israel’s behalf. […]

    Israel (Washington’s foreign patron), the Gulf State clients and European and Japanese allies have been pushing the US to intervene and confront ‘their adversaries’. To this end, Israel and the Zionist Power Configuration within the US government have been undermining peace negotiations between the US and Iran. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, as well as Turkey are urging the US to attack Syria. The French had successfully pushed the US into a war against the Gaddafi government in Libya and have their sights on their former colony in Syria. The US has given only limited backing to the French military intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic.

    The US public is aware that none of Washington’s ‘militarist’ patrons, clients and allies has paid such a high price in terms of blood and treasure as the US in the recent wars. The Saudi, Israeli and French “publics” have not experienced the socio-economic dislocations confronting the US public. For these ‘allied’ regimes, the cheapest way to resolve their own regional conflicts and promote their own ambitions is to convince, coerce or pressure the US to “exercise its global leadership”.

    The Changing Contours of US Imperial Intervention in World Conflicts
    By James Petras

  12. Gregory Kruse
    November 23, 2015 at 23:02

    Imagine that Sanders makes a speech in NYC proposing to make a hole in the Saudi king’s palace in Riyadh the size of the one made in the Pentagon.

  13. jaycee
    November 23, 2015 at 22:32

    It’s not the oil, it’s the petrodollar.

    • Martin Katchen
      November 24, 2015 at 04:11

      Indeed. It’s the petrodollar that makes the US an “exceptional nation”.Because other nations need dollars to buy oil, they export whatever they can to the US at cheap prices to get those dollars. Which means that the US government and big banks are insulated from any consequences of “casino capitalism”. Sanctioning Saudi Arabia would mean countersanctions by Saudi Arabia which would mean an end to the petrodollar, perhaps replaced by the petroyuan. Suddenly the US could no longer have near zero prime interest rates or run up huge deficits. Faced with suddenly having to exercise fiscal responsibility, the US would face a recession worse than 2008. It would be cold turkey and as any junkie knows, cold turkey is agonising. No wonder antagonising Saudi Arabia is not to be considered. And having this kind of leverage, the Saudis are using Al Qaeda and ISIS as well as it’s endowments (endawaments?) to make Salafist Islam the major “brand” of Sunni Islam. Perhaps the Saudis are even aiming at unifying all of contiguous Sunni Arabia from Mosul to Mauretania into one Caliphate. Why be a king when you can be a Caliph?

  14. Zachary Smith
    November 23, 2015 at 21:07

    Freezing or confiscating Saudi bank accounts around the world might finally impress the spoiled princes of the Persian Gulf oil states that there is a real price to pay for dabbling in terrorism.

    I like the thinking here, but unfortunately it isn’t going to happen. Yes, ‘we’ know the Saudis are chest-deep in sponsoring terrorism. We’ve known it for a long time. Even with the September 2001 terror attack by Saudi citizens nothing was done except to cover up the extent of their involvement. And of course, by immediately changing the subject to Saddam & Iraq. Likewise, ‘we’ know that Israel has a big trunk full of nuclear weapons, and mentioning that in polite company just isn’t done either.

    Besides, Saudi Arabia is a big buyer of US weapons, keeping Big War rolling in clover. Tackling them will probably require the efforts of somebody else. As F. G. Sanford mentioned, the Saudis don’t have unlimited financial reserves. And as things stand now, rebuilding those reserves isn’t going to be very easy, for there are a great many people peddling oil these days. If Russia and/or Iran and/or Iraq got their heads together, they might figure out a “sweet spot” with oil prices where they could soldier on, but keep Saudi Arabia on a tight leash. And there is another factor – Saudi Arabi’s oil reserves are probably overstated. The searches for this information aren’t as easy as they might be, but there are older stories available.


    Fixed costs within the country continue to grow. There are growing numbers of Princes who must be expensively coddled, growing numbers of dirt-poor peasants to provide with minimal living standards to keep them from exploding in rage, and getting out the declining oil supplies won’t get any cheaper either.

    Saudi Arabia is facing a perfect storm, and if they weren’t religious fanatics they’d be already sending olive branches to Assad instead of more TOWS, MANPADS, and heavily armed religious nuts. But they are fanatics, and IMO their future prospects don’t look too healthy.

    • Abe
      November 23, 2015 at 21:35

      Saudi rulers adopted an ill-conceived policy to steeply lower the price of oil and provide the country with a global monopoly. This policy has unleashed a frenetic campaign to bolster the financial, political and propagandist aims of terrorists in Syria and other countries, an adventure evidently inspired by the blazing sandstorm that has sparked a war against fellow Arab country Yemen and offers no easy way out. The huge sums spent to burnish Saudi Arabia’s global image, along with feckless expenditures on the royal court, are forcing the Saudis to ponder not merely belt-tightening but the imminent collapse of their economy. According to IMF estimates, Saudi Arabia’s treasury will be depleted within five years if the global oil price stays around $50 per barrel over that period, and this year it faces a deficit of 20% of GDP. Saudi Arabia cannot balance its budget unless the price of oil is at least $106 a barrel, IMF analysts have determined. Tim Cullen, the chief of the IMF mission in Riyadh, said that “the fall in oil prices is leading to a substantial reduction in the kingdom’s export and budget revenues.”

      In July, Riyadh began to dip into its reserves. As of August 2014, they fell from $740 billion to $ 654.5 billion in one year, according to the country’s central bank. As a consequence, a bond issue was announced for the first time since 2007, and the bonds were bought by Saudi banks. In July, talk was of a $4 billion intake. It was later revealed that Saudi Arabia is banking on receiving up to $27 billion by the end of the year. However, the bond yield is not helping the kingdom maintain its high level of government spending. In September, Barclays predicted that if the oil price holds at $50, the Saudis’ gold reserves will last until 2019 if spending continues at the current pace.


  15. Abe
    November 23, 2015 at 20:16

    Robert Kagan helped start the Project for a New American Century, the famous neoconservative shop that advised George Bush that Israel’s war with terrorism was our war and hurry up and topple Saddam Hussein because he has nuclear weapons. “If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors,” they wrote. Well the greater horrors came, hundreds of thousands killed and injured, Iraq torn apart, and ISIS rising.

    With that sort of record, you’d think Kagan ought to be boxing holiday orders at a fulfillment center or doing Santa duty at the mall. Nope, he’s still pushing regime change from an elite platform. A year ago, the unrepentant Brookings scholar was wheeled out by the New York Times to counsel a more aggressive foreign policy for President Obama. And now he has an after-Paris piece in the Wall Street Journal with a typically-grandiose headline, The Crisis of World Order, urging policymakers to get over their Iraq “trauma” and for Obama to replace the Assad regime in Syria.

    “In recent years, the mere mention of U.S. ground troops has been enough to stop any conversation. Americans, or at least the intelligentsia and political class, remain traumatized by Iraq, and all calculations about what to do in Syria have been driven by that trauma.”

    No mention of the trauma to the people of Iraq of the war Kagan pushed. The American political class is suffering from “paralysis,” Kagan says. But Paris has changed all that.

    “Perhaps there are Europeans today wishing that the U.S. will not compound its error of commission in Iraq by making an equally unfortunate error of omission in Syria. “

    Here’s the plan, it’ll just take 50,000 troops:

    “America will have to take the lead, provide the troops, supply the bulk of the air power and pull together those willing and able to join the effort.” […]

    Of course the “heretofore immovable” Assad regime must go. Something the Israelis want too. Kagan never mentions Israel, of course. The neocons don’t want to be charged with misapprehending the U.S. interest. […]

    The Times exonerated Kagan a year ago — he “exudes a Cocoa-Puffs-pouring, stay-at-home-dad charm” — because of his powerful social connections. His good friend and fellow-armchair-gunslinger is Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel; more importantly his wife is Victoria Nuland, an assistant secretary of state under Obama and the daughter of a revered physician and author. Even more importantly, he has Hillary Clinton’s ear. “Mr. Kagan pointed out that he had recently attended a dinner of foreign-policy experts at which Mrs. Clinton was the guest of honor.” Kagan continues to be taken seriously, not because he has a booklined office and comes up with stentorian titles, but because is a member of a class of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, many of them also members of the Israel lobby, that won’t go away until their larger cohort, of blue state meritocrats and the Jewish organizations and Jewish donors, finally turns on them.

    Kagan pushed regime change in Iraq, now says US must get over ‘trauma’ and do Syria
    By Phil Weiss and Annie Robbin

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 23, 2015 at 22:28

      Have you ever wondered who would have gained power, by blackmailing those who were responsible for JFK’s assassination, and or Nixon’s departure after Watergate? BTW how is Jonathan Pollard, these days?

    • Abe
      November 24, 2015 at 02:01

      The journey from CHAOS to PROMIS and beyond has ensconced mass domestic surveillance, unrestricted data collection and tracking, with unlimited potential for political blackmail.

    • Abe
      November 24, 2015 at 03:11

      The goal of the ‘Zionist strategy’ was to destroy Iraq as Israel’s regional rival. The cost of over a million Iraqi dead and many million refugees did not prick any conscience in Washington or Tel Aviv.

      After all, Washington’s traditional ‘militarist faction’ picked up the bill (costing hundreds of billions) which they passed on to the American taxpayers (well over one trillion dollars) and used the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of American troops to provide a pretext for spreading more chaos. The result of their mayhem includes the specter of ‘Isis’, which they may consider to be a success – since hysteria over ‘Isis’ pushes the West ‘closer to Israel’.

      Wars: US Militarist Factions in Command
      By James Petras

    • Bob Van Noy
      November 24, 2015 at 08:13

      Again, exactly! And, where is their old buddy Richard Pearle these days? I’m sure he has some excellent ideas for our future. Perhaps he and Bill Kristol could have tea and come up with a new PNAC statement to help us out.

    • dahoit
      November 24, 2015 at 11:31

      Kagan?What about Shillary,who is directly behind the disasters in Libya and Syria?
      The way she keeps throwing sops to the Zionists,they’ll make her Snow White by election time.

  16. Bart
    November 23, 2015 at 19:21

    Today at the New York Times their ‘Room for Debate’ feature provides seven different individuals a shot at how to stop funding for ISIS. Not a damn one mentioned Saudi Arabia.

  17. Drew Hunkins
    November 23, 2015 at 19:15

    What I’m dubbing the “Washington/pro-Israel/Saudi Terror Network” is responsible for so much death and destruction across the globe that it’s mind-boggling.

    Mr. Robert Parry, along with a few other intellectuals out there, are brave truth tellers in the face of so much disinformation, distortion, half-truths and confusion.

  18. ltr
    November 23, 2015 at 18:25

    For instance, Official Washington’s neocons still insist on their recipe for “regime change” in countries that they targeted 20 years ago. They also demand a new Cold War with Russia in defense of a corrupt right-wing regime in Ukraine, further destabilizing Europe and disrupting U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria.

    Robert Parry

    [ Perfectly described. ]

    • James (Jim) Macaulay
      November 24, 2015 at 01:59

      I certainly hope that you sent a copy of today’s article to Sen. Bernie Sanders!

  19. Anthony Clark
    November 23, 2015 at 18:08

    If you upset the Saudis they’ll do what they always have done, that being shutting off the oil. Along with the US, Britain signed an agreement with them that they would take the petrodollar and the west would receive cheap oil on condition that its culture was not interfered with. Since Saudi is actually run by hardline clerics, the Royal family do as they’re told. This addiction to oil is the problem.
    Recently the Saudis gained a seat on the Human Rights Council…them of all people…facillitated by David Cameron on the understanding that if he did not, then Saudi Arabia would turn off the oil (not for the first time), cancel their billion dollar orders for planes and weapons and withdraw their considerable financial interests from the City of London. This is what we are up against – never mind sanctions, something far more decisive is required.

    • F. G. Sanford
      November 23, 2015 at 20:11

      I guess you’ve never seen that picture of George Bush kissing King Abdullah…on the mouth. And, did you know that Saudi Arabi is running a budget deficit which will bankrupt them within five years because of the oil glut? Or, that when they “shut off the oil”, that was engineered by the G.H.W. Bush CIA ? I don’t know if it’s true, but some people swear John Brennan made the Hajj. That would mean he’s a Wahhabist himself. There’s plenty of oil. Iraq, Iran, Libya, Russia, Venezuela and Nigeria could meet all the worlds needs for the next twenty years if the Saudis shut off the tap tomorrow. This reminds me of the kids who love Grandma, bur when it’s time to go for a ride, they insist on visiting Aunt Mary…because there’s a McDonalds on the way. No, there’s another agenda here, and it has nothing to do with shutting off the oil.

      • Abe
        November 23, 2015 at 20:49

        I guess you’ve never seen that YouTube video of Bibi Netanyahu giving King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud a reach around.

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 24, 2015 at 02:15

        Maybe the Saudi Royals, are having a ‘going out of business sale’. Kind of like an economic controlled demolition. All, baked in the cake, cunning stuff. I mean consider what the Saudi Royals are doing. Fire sale on oil, purchasing weapons into deficit (probably own stock in arms mfg), starting a riot on the way out the door….seriously, could this be the plan. I could be way off, but would you have believed me 15 years ago, if I told you we will be the ones supporting the terrorist? If I had their money I’d cash out, and go underground….say French Riveria, New Zealand, anywhere but the Middle East. Forget ISIS, forget Israel the U.S., just enjoy life.

      • Brad Owen
        November 24, 2015 at 05:23

        I believe that other agenda is the elimination of the very idea of a modern, progressive, secular, democratic, Republic, by the “Deep State” oligarchy, using terrorists and regressive regimes (the Sauds and other dark-age “principalities”, Israel now converted into a fascist theocracy, puppet dictators installed for this long-range purpose, etc…). Oligarchs are more comfortable with a “Top Down” Empire (your typical business corporation with the autocrat CEO and his “Board of Directors” fellow pirates running things…no unions, no laws, no regulators, the real results of libertarian ideas in the REAL World). What is to be eliminated is Russia, China, USA, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc…and all ideas that smack of progress for “the common man”.

      • Bob Van Noy
        November 24, 2015 at 08:03

        Following Robert Parry’s excellent analysis of our contemporary dilemma; this thread says it all. This really is the heart of the international problem at hand. Now, one wonders, if there are enough rational people and a democratic enough route to stop the insanity and figure out a just solution, rather than the absurdity of policies like, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?

  20. Abe
    November 23, 2015 at 18:05

    Despite all the grandstanding and rhetoric from the French President and Western leaders, a critical point that needs to be emphasised is that Western governments are complicit in the Paris attacks and any future terror attacks (there will be more). If we put aside for a second the thesis that the Paris attack was a false flag operation or that French intelligence simply allowed it to happen, what can’t be disputed is that Western foreign policy has directly resulted in the rise of terrorism globally, most notably the rise of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

    These groups would not have the resources and global reach to launch any attacks in the West if they had not been armed, trained and let loose on the Syrian government by NATO members in collusion with regional allies. For those who have been following the proxy war in Syria and the nefarious and insidious policies of the West, this latest attack comes as no surprise.

    Here’s just some of the plethora of evidence that Western nations – or the terror pushers – have been supporting extremists to overthrow the Syrian government:

    • ‘The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq), are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,’ was the assessment of the opposition by the Defense Intelligence Agency in their declassified intelligence report from 2012.

    • The French government delivered vast sums of money to the Syrian rebels in 2012, which was used to buy guns and ammunition.

    • French President Francois Hollande confirmed in 2014 that France had delivered arms to the Syrian rebels to fight Assad.

    • The UK has been pouring millions into the Syrian opposition for years, with reports from 2013 claiming Britain was involved in an operation with other European states and the US to provide the Syrian rebels with 3,000 tons of weapons, sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb in Croatia, to the rebels.

    • Roland Dumas, the former French minister of Foreign Affairs, revealed that the war in Syria was ‘prepared, preconceived and planned’ at least ‘two years before the violence’ erupted in 2011. Dumas said he was approached in the UK by ‘top British officials’ to see if he would participate in “organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria”.

    • In 2015, a Swedish national called Bherlin Gildo was accused of fighting for Syrian rebel groups – including Jabhat al-Nusra (read al-Qaeda in Syria) – but the case was quickly dropped after his lawyer’s cleverly argued that British intelligence was involved in arming and providing non-lethal aid to the very same terrorist groups he was allegedly fighting for.

    • The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael T. Flynn, revealed in a recent interview that the Obama administration took the ‘willful decision’ to support the rise of the Syrian rebels in 2012, even though Washington knew the opposition was composed of extreme terror groups.

    • As Tony Cartalucci reported earlier this year, an ISIS mercenary confessed to Pakistani authorities that he received funds that were routed through the US in order to ‘recruit young people to fight in Syria’.

    • The CIA has been shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels for years, whilst selling the practice to the public under the auspices of only supplying (phantom) ‘moderate’ groups.

    Terror Junkies: The West’s Addiction to Funding Radical Groups
    By Steven MacMillan

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 23, 2015 at 18:39

      Here is an article for you, Abe. Thierry Myssan of voltairenet.org describes a French Israeli connection, which is deceitful as all hell. If you go on voltairenet be sure to check out some of the other articles, as well. Truly, eye opening stuff, if true.


      • Peter Loeb
        November 24, 2015 at 07:17


        The UN via its resolution of 22 February is
        committed to the support of the sovereignty,
        independence of the Government of Syria.

        See excerpts from S/Res/2139(2014) posted
        in this space only yesterday (“The Buried
        Resolution”). (To article by Husseini in
        Consortium, see also website of UN Security

        Israel and necons have indeed buried 2139
        which it passed UNANIMOUSLY.

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Bob Van Noy
        November 24, 2015 at 07:45

        Thanks Joe, I’ve been following voltairenet for a bit at your suggestion and see a great deal of wisdom there, for what its worth, I agree…

      • dahoit
        November 24, 2015 at 11:25

        This whole shebang is about securing and expanding the Zionist state.on the backs of dead Syrians,Turks,Kurds and Iraqis.
        Why else would the Zionist MSM fail to educate Americans to the reality,that we,the Israelis and the Gulf States are behind IsUS,and the destabilization of Europe thrown in the bargain.
        They hd a story today where an Australian reporter was intimidated by Israeli security art a hospital in Israel where they are treating IsUS wounded warriors.
        The truth escape the clutches of the Ziomonsters?
        And now our boy Turkey is exposed as terrorist supporters.

  21. Abe
    November 23, 2015 at 18:00

    Surely Washington notices that each and every single one of its allies is involved in feeding, not fighting ISIS. When each and every one of its allies from Kiev to Ankara are involved in arming and supplying ISIS, Washington not only knows, it is likely orchestrating it all to begin with.

    And proving this is not a matter of deduction or mere implications. Proving this requires simply for one to read a 2012 Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA) report (.pdf) which openly admitted:

    “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

    If, at this point, one is unclear on just who these “supporting powers to the opposition” are, the DIA report itself reveals it is the West, NATO (including Turkey) and its allies in the Persian Gulf.

    This Salafist (Islamic) principality (state), or ISIS for short, was not an indirect consequence of US foreign policy, it was (and still very much is) a concerted conspiracy involving multiple states spanning North America, Europe, and the Middle East. It could not exist otherwise.

    While Russia attempts to reach westward to piece together an inclusive coalition to finally put an end to ISIS, it is clear that it does so in vain. Washington, Brussels and their regional allies in the Middle East have no intention of putting an end to ISIS. Even today, this very moment, the US and its allies are doing everything within their power to ensure the survival of their terrorist armies inside of Syria for as long as possible before any ceasefire is agreed to. And even if a peace settlement of some sort is struck, all it will do is buy Syria time. No matter how much damage Russia and its own, genuine coalition consisting of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon deal ISIS within Syria, the networks that fed it from Turkey, Jordan, the Persian Gulf, Eastern Europe and Washington itself remain intact.

    Tracking ISIS to DC’s Doorsteps
    By Ulson Gunnar

  22. Pablo Diablo
    November 23, 2015 at 17:56

    Gotta keep the war machine well fed so they can continue to buy politicians who will promote war.

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