The Need to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable

Exclusive: One of Official Washington’s favorite “group thinks” is to insist that Iran is the “chief sponsor of terrorism,” but the reality is that Saudi Arabia is much guiltier and U.S. officials know it, says Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

If someone wants to become somebody in Official Washington, there are certain lies that you must assert as undeniable truths, almost like flashing a secret sign to gain entry to an exclusive club. For instance, you must say that Iran is the world’s “chief sponsor of terrorism” though that is patently false.

The problem is that a much bigger sponsor of terrorism is Saudi Arabia, with some competition from Qatar, but those two Gulf states are extremely wealthy U.S. “allies” and their hatred of Iran is shared by Israel, which possesses the most intimidating foreign lobby in Washington. So, deviation from the “Iran-chief-sponsor-of-terrorism” mantra marks you as someone who is not part of the club and never will be.

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Yet, while lies may be the mother’s milk of Official Washington, there are severe costs paid by the American people and even more by the people of the Middle East who have suffered from the bloody consequences of this particular lie because it has been at the root of a series of misguided U.S. interventions, which themselves have spread widespread terror.

The U.S. government allied itself with Saudi Arabia in building the modern Islamic terrorism movement in the 1980s when the Reagan administration went in 50/50 with Saudi Arabia to finance and arm the Afghan mujahedeen – a project costing billions of dollars – to fight a merciless war against Soviet troops defending a leftist, secular regime in Kabul.

That war not only opened the gates of Kabul to the likes of Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden and the Taliban but it created the methodology and means for the Saudis to expand their Sunni proxy wars against various Shiite “apostates” and secularists across the region.

Though hailed in U.S. propaganda as noble freedom fighters, the mujahedeen routinely sodomized, tortured and murdered captured Russian soldiers and put Afghan women back into prehistoric servitude. After the Taliban prevailed in 1996, they castrated Afghan President Najibullah and hung his mutilated body from a light pole. In the years that followed, there were plenty of public beheadings for violating the Taliban’s fundamentalist teachings, which were shared by Saudi officialdom.

From the “successful” Afghan experience, the Saudi intelligence agency recognized the value of using Sunni fundamentalist fanatics as the tip of the spear in wars against Middle East secularists and Shiites, including Shia Islam’s spinoffs, such as Alawites and Houthis.

The Saudis also recognized the value of influencing Official Washington, which the kingdom had tried to do by creating its own lobby based on spreading around lots of money. But that Saudi effort was blunted by Israel and its lobby, which didn’t want to share its unmatched influence over the U.S. government.

So, the Saudis found it easier to “rent” the Israel Lobby by developing covert ties with Israel and quietly paying Israel billions of dollars. The Saudi dollars, in effect, replaced the money that Israel had been getting from Iran during the 1980s when Israel brokered Iran’s arms sales. As part of the Israeli-Saudi under-the-table alliance, the two countries agreed that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – stretching from Tehran through Damascus to Hezbollah neighborhoods of Beirut – were their joint strategic enemies.

Behind the combined clout of politically influential Israel and financially powerful Saudi Arabia, the script was written for U.S. politicians, pundits and officials to recite: “Iran is the chief sponsor of terrorism.”

This dogma is repeated again and again, including by retired Generals James Mattis and Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for Defense Secretary and National Security Advisor, respectively. But the terror groups that Americans fear most, such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State, are supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, not by Iran.

Hillary Knew Well

And this reality is well known to senior U.S. officials even though it is never openly acknowledged. For instance, classified documents provided to WikiLeaks included diplomatic cables from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top advisers recognizing that violent jihadist groups were raising millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, an inconvenient truth that even The New York Times has finally recognized.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on March 30, 2012. [State Department photo]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on March 30, 2012. [State Department photo]

Secretary Clinton wrote in a December 2009 cable that Saudi Arabia was the “most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” Clinton recognized that Saudi largesse also was financing terrorists of Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) inside Syria and Iraq.

In a 2014 email from the leaked account of Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, Clinton wrote, “we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

A Confession

To better understand the Saudi role in supporting Sunni extremism, you have to recognize that the Saudi princelings get a pass on their licentious behavior by buying leniency from the religious ulema (or leaders) through financing the extreme Wahhabi teachings that justify bloody retribution on all sorts of heretics.

This reality was explained in testimony by Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called twentieth 9/11 hijacker who is serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Moussaoui told lawyers for the families of 9/11 victims about top-level Saudi support for Osama bin Laden right up to the eve of the attacks and even described a plot by a Saudi embassy employee to sneak a Stinger missile into the U.S. under diplomatic cover and use it to bring down Air Force One.

Moussaoui’s list of Al Qaeda contributors included the late King Abdulllah and his hard-line successor, Salman bin Abdulaziz; Turki Al Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and subsequently ambassador to the U.S. and U.K.; Bandar bin Sultan, a former ambassador, intelligence chief and close friend of the Bush family; and Al-Waleed bin Talal, a major investor in Citigroup, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the Hotel George V in Paris, and the Plaza in New York.

“Ulema, essentially they are the king maker,” Moussaoui testified. “If the ulema say that you should not take power [because of some personal deviancy], you are not going to take power.”

Israeli Preference

Israeli officials also have explained why they favor Al Qaeda or Islamic State over the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad – because Assad is supported by Iran and comes from the Alawite branch of Shiite Islam.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own "red line" on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own “red line” on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

In one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, its Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, a close adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in September 2013 that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al Qaeda.

And, if you might have thought that Oren had misspoken, he reiterated his position in June 2014 at an Aspen Institute conference. Then, speaking as a former ambassador, Oren said Israel would even prefer a victory by Islamic State, which was massacring captured Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.

“From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” said Oren, who is now a deputy minister for diplomacy in Netanyahu’s office.

Israel’s preference for the “Sunni evil” – along with its semi-covert relationship with Saudi Arabia – helps explain why the Israel Lobby has weighed in so heavily against Iran and the Shiites.

Iran’s Guilt

But what’s the truth about Iran? While Saudi Arabia and Qatar finance Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, there must be reasons why U.S. officials line up to profess that Iran is the “chief sponsor of terrorism.”

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran's nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani celebrates the completion of an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2013, by kissing the head of the daughter of an assassinated Iranian nuclear engineer. (Iranian government photo)

Well, apparently that is a reference to Iran’s support for Hezbollah, a Shiite movement in southern Lebanon that emerged as a resistance to Israeli occupation of that area in the 1980s. For years, Hezbollah has attacked Israeli targets in a tit-for-tat shadow war of assassinations and bombings that has crossed the line into terrorism by both sides. But neither Hezbollah nor Iran have been connected to any significant terror attack aimed at Americans in the past couple of decades.

Indeed, the usual citation regarding Iranian “terrorism” is the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks near Beirut airport in 1983, but that attack was not “terrorism,” at least as it is classically defined as an intentional attack on civilians with the intent of achieving a political objective.

The factual details here are important. President Ronald Reagan deployed the Marines as “peacekeepers” following Israel’s invasion and occupation of much of Lebanon. However, as fighting continued, there was mission creep.

National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, who often represented Israel’s interests in the upper echelons of the Reagan administration, convinced the President to authorize the USS New Jersey to fire long-distance shells into Muslim villages, killing civilians and convincing Shiite militants that the United States had joined the conflict.

On Oct. 23, 1983, Shiite militants struck back, sending a suicide truck bomber through U.S. security positions, demolishing the high-rise Marine barracks in Beirut and killing 241 American servicemen.

Though the U.S. news media immediately labeled the Marine barracks bombing an act of “terrorism” – and that misnomer has stuck – Reagan administration insiders knew better, recognizing that McFarlane’s “mission creep” had made the U.S. troops vulnerable to retaliation.

“When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American ‘referee’ had taken sides,” Gen. Colin Powell wrote in his memoir, My American Journey. In other words, Powell, who was then military adviser to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, recognized that the actions of the U.S. military had altered the status of the Marines in the eyes of the Shiites.

But that is not to say that in the 1980s and the early 1990s Iran did not support actions that would constitute “terrorism.” There were the kidnappings of American civilians in Lebanon (and possibly the retaliatory bombing of PanAm 103 in 1988 after the U.S. Navy had shot down an Iranian civilian airliner a few months earlier). But the main reason that Iran is still touted as the “chief sponsor of terrorism” is that it remains at the top of Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s enemies list, not that the label is justified by recent events and evidence.

The claim by some Americans that Iran’s support for Iraqi resistance to the American military occupation of Iraq was “terrorism” also turns the concept on “terrorism” on its head since American soldiers who have conquered a sovereign nation are not “civilians” and thus attacking them with IEDs or other weapons does not constitute “terrorism.”

The more recent complaints about Iranian “aggression” are even more dishonest. Iran has been invited by the sovereign governments of Iraq and Syria to assist in fighting Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists in those countries. Under international law, there is nothing illegal about that and it surely does not constitute “aggression.”

Saudi Arabia and the State Department have also accused Iran of supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen, although the extent of that assistance is apparently negligible and whatever it is, it is vastly overwhelmed by Saudi Arabia’s massive bombardment of Yemen, a true act of aggression that has killed hundreds if not thousands of civilians and is supported by the Obama administration.

Politicians Held Hostage

So, when I hear major U.S. officials repeat the falsehood about Iran as the “chief sponsor of terrorism” again and again, I’m reminded of a hostage video in which a captive is forced to read lies written by his captors who would inflict pain or death if the captive deviated from the script. But it’s hard to tell if these U.S. officials know that they’re lying or have internalized the lie as “truth.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

If some U.S. official did publicly pronounce the truth – that Saudi Arabia far outranks Iran as the “chief sponsor of terrorism” and that many people in the world would put the United States even higher – the truth-teller might never survive another Senate confirmation hearing, since the Israel Lobby would call in its chits and make an example of the apostate.

Which gets us to the problem of President-elect Trump naming retired Generals Mattis and Flynn to top national security posts. Was their Iran-bashing heartfelt, i.e., do they really believe this propaganda is true, or were they simply protecting their Official Washington “credibility” by saying something they knew to be false but also knew was a required password to enter the domain of the political elite?

The question is not an idle one because if President Trump is to achieve anything meaningful in the Middle East, he must begin by leveling with the American people about what the U.S. government really knows and then acting on the reality that Saudi Arabia – with its sponsorship of Al Qaeda, Islamic State and the Taliban – can no longer be coddled.

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

57 comments for “The Need to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable

  1. Call A Spade
    December 11, 2016 at 03:10

    This type of article seems to leave the US blameless it is amazing when you see Youtube clips of MSM TV footage predicting events of 9/11 before they happen building 9 Get real it was all scripted with high level US conspiration.

  2. December 10, 2016 at 12:28

    Here a side note to this article. The author does not mention the main interest of US in ME, and this is not to be a puppet of Saudi Arabia or Israel. Yes, they are allies of US and have their own national concerns. Israel is surrounded by nations who do not recognize the right of its existence and have supporters all over the world, Saudis want to keep their only resources of wealth – the oil fields – out of harms way, after all the Shiah who live there are prone to Iranian influence. But the major interest lies with the US, which makes sure the crude oil is being traded in US$ only, which is the single and only tool to finance its global outreach – therefore, this nicely written out article, which emphasizes how the Israeli lobby and the Saudi dictators are influencing the poor Americans to commit crimes in the world is nothing else than a cheap attempt to blame yet some one else for the American failures. Go and fix your corrupt political system, and stop looking for excuses.

  3. Herman
    December 9, 2016 at 14:23

    People like me are beginning to understand the relationship of Muslim extremists to American foreign policy. During the Cold War, they became instruments of our foreign policy in parts of the Soviet Union and surrounding countries. The Afghan fiasco which replaced a secular government with extremists and warlords was at least as much our doing as that of the Saudis. Remember Wilsons War, where Wilson became a celebrity by supplying weapons and money to the heroic mujahedeen. It is instructive to go back to the 70’s and what Kabul looked like then and then view it in the 80’s until now. Syria a decade ago and Syria today. Iraq and Libya then and now. Awful stuff we do.

  4. slaphalharbi
    December 9, 2016 at 11:11

    I can’t imagine a journalist that’s supposed to look for the truth says sth like this.
    It’s not true that Iran is an enemy of Israel. They’re friends and have relationship that’s not necessarily announced.
    How could you forget the Iranian military existence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon where Saudi Arabia is not there?
    How do you forget hundred of the Arabs of occupied Alahwaz that have been executed for nothing but because they’re Arab?

  5. Mark Thomason
    December 9, 2016 at 10:47

    Saudi Arabia is the intended next target of the same groups who want us now to target Iran. It does not end with Iran. It is permanent war against everything in the region. Partly that is for Israel, and partly it is to control the oil supply. The two causes use the same plan, the Allon Plan of fragmenting the region and controlling puppet governments. That never worked for long anywhere else, and won’t work here, but they have a very short term temporizing view of profits and ambitions.

  6. December 9, 2016 at 03:55

    In a rare outbreak of honesty Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson criticised Saudi Arabia at a conference held in Rome last weekend.

    In a guarded article in the Guardian, Simon Tidsall appears to bend over backwards to appear balanced while reporting:

    “The foreign secretary told a conference in Rome last week that the behaviour of Saudi Arabia, and also Iran, was a tragedy, adding that there was an absence of visionary leadership in the region that was willing to reach out across the Sunni-Shia divide.”

    Theresa May was a quick to distance the government and herself from Johnson’s truthful observations, and it is expected the foreign secretary will be forced to eat humble pie when he visits Saudi Arabia this Sunday.

    • jakester48
      December 9, 2016 at 06:55

      Boris Johnston is frequently painted in the British media as something of a clown, but make no mistake, he is a very clever and intelligent man, and an experienced politician. You can depend upon it that his remarks in Rome were carefully crafted, as shown by their cautious balance, and draw on the British Foreign Office’s perception of the big picture in the Middle East, an area in which it considers itself to have vast experience and expertise. That he made these remarks shortly before an official visit to Saudi Arabia is not an accident. Of course, he has been “slapped down” by Downing Street, because the official UK Government position is that Saudi Arabia is the UK’s main ally in the Middle East, an alliance cemented by huge arms deals. And it should also be noted that in TV interviews last Sunday, he was careful not to be drawn into criticism of Saudi intervention in Yemen using British-supplied weapons.
      But the wider reaction to his Rome remarks has been that he is simply voicing a truth which everybody knows. I take encouragement from the fact that such a senior politician is prepared to say what he said. Will any American politician agree with him?

  7. RGerrish
    December 9, 2016 at 01:40

    What would fix all of this would be for the US to not be allowed to go any further into debt. Let’s face it, the US has funded all of the ME chaos via the money printing machine. With the US debt at $19.94 TRILLION, and debt to GDP ratio of 106.4%, when is the can going to be kicked back? US foreign policy has been nothing but chaos creation around the world with no positive objective whatsoever.

  8. Michael Elvin
    December 8, 2016 at 23:34

    Here’s what gets me. In the week following 9-11 here’s what we knew:
    The Saudi monarchy was Wahhabi.
    Al Qaeda was Wahhabi.
    17 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.
    On the day after, the entire US air fleet was grounded– with one exception. The plane taking high-born Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, back to SA.
    Yet no member of the major US media said a single word suggesting possible Saudi culpability. Instead the drumbeat began to implicate the secular socialist in charge of Iraq.
    And hardly anyone in the US thought there was anything odd about that. What’s wrong with this picture?

    • Gregory Herr
      December 9, 2016 at 01:40

      And then US military-grade anthrax was used to threaten Leahy and Daschle into expediting AUMF, and to try to tie-in Hussein with 9/11. The fake “letters” were laughably outlandish aspects of the entire ruse.

    • Sam F
      December 9, 2016 at 08:20

      Just that hardly anyone in the US thinks anything; they just listen to the TV and decide what propaganda will be most beneficial to pretend to believe. But then it is the oligarchy mass media that advertises what the majority thinks, which is unrelated to the truth. Only MIC/WallSt/zionist fools and tools claimed to believe them.

  9. David F., N.A.
    December 8, 2016 at 22:12

    Excellent article. I hear CBS is going to read it, in its entirety, tomorrow on their Nightly News. And by “in its entirety” they mean “out of context”.

  10. December 8, 2016 at 20:27

    Good article. I believe NATO and its allies need to be held accountable because they are I believe:“ The Diabolical Destroyers of a Number of Countries” See the evidence at link below.

  11. Bill Bodden
    December 8, 2016 at 20:03

    The Need to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable

    Make the “The Need to Hold Saudi Arabia and Israel Accountable”

  12. bluto
    December 8, 2016 at 19:50

    ‘The End of Political Judaism and 1P1V1S’

    WHEN: Saturday Dec 17 2016, 2:00 – 3:15 pm
    WHERE: Otay Branch San Diego Public Library,
    3003 Coronado Ave, San Diego, Ca 92154
    WHO: Dr Lance Dale


    ‘Welcome to Apartheid Israel’ – Tzipi Livni Nov 16, 2016
    Livni’s surrender of 1- retained Settlement Blocs, 2- the Wall, and 3- ending of Palestinian Right of Return

    Obama’s Greenlighting of the UN Sec Co Resolution against Israel triggered by the Palestine Annexation Law/(Amona)

    The 3 Existential Events (seen as such by Israel itself) for the Collapse of Israeli Apartheid:
    The Iran Nuclear Deal, UN Sec Co Resolution against Israel, and the ICC

    ‘The 3rd Israeli Generals Revolt (CIS) vs Bibi and the Settlers’
    -The Commanders for Israeli Security (CIS)

    ‘The Diskin/CIS UN Chapter 7 Plan and the Dismantling of Israeli Apartheid’

    The Israeli Civil War:
    ‘Obama and the CIS vs Bibi, Adelson and the Settlers’

    ‘1P1V1S (-One Person One Vote One State) replacing Apartheid’
    -Marwan Barghouti and 1P1V1S from Shining River to Shining Sea

    Political Judaism and Kahanism in Israel and the US – Settlers, the Kahanist Alt Right, and the Israeli Lobby/Jewish Lobby’s Islamophobia cottage industry

    The Successful 2nd American Revolution of 4-2-15 and the Iran Nuclear Deal’

    ‘How the Israeli/Israeli Lobby ‘Clean Break Dream’ perished in Aleppo’

    Q and A after talk…

  13. Pablo Diablo
    December 8, 2016 at 18:17

    The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is the chief sponsor of terrorism. Starting with the genocide of the native population and continuing on till today. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the largest acts of terrorism in history.

    Robert Parry,
    Please write an article on Zacarias Moussaoui and his trial testimony, including testimony of F.B.I. and Germany’s forces.
    THANK YOU for ALL you do.

  14. Bruce Dodds
    December 8, 2016 at 16:52

    This is a very pertinent article overall. However, I wonder about Zacarias Moussaoui’s qualifications to comment on the Saudi royal succession. According to Wikipedia, Moussaoui was French of Moroccan background. There’s nothing there to suggest that he was ever in Saudi Arabia.

  15. Roch
    December 8, 2016 at 16:42

    Get real. Saudis bombed the Yemen “kindergaerten” under to soften it up, so the US can go, help and reconstruct, establishing bases there.
    Have you not noticed that Yeman is one of the most strategic countries of the globe– whoever contols it with any force, controls the entire southern hemisphere.
    Very purposed.

  16. F. G. Sanford
    December 8, 2016 at 16:03

    “…turns the concept on “terrorism” on its head since…soldiers who have conquered a sovereign nation are not “civilians” and thus attacking them…does not constitute “terrorism.”

    Uh-oh. Mr. Parry, you just defined the crux of U.N. Resolution 242 and the dilemma at the heart of Israel’s protestations that it acts in “self defense”. According to international law, resistance to “occupation” does not constitute “terrorism”, and resistance by any means is justified. But on a brighter note, I have a feeling that blackmail plays a much bigger role in maintaining loyalty to the party line than does financial or political support by the lobby. I could name more than one entrenched politician in either party who could survive without the lobby…so what keeps them faithful to “The Big Lie”? Lots of people knew about Denny Hastert’s “peccadilloes”, and his dalliances were far more prolific than the mainstream media ever admitted. The judge called him a “serial molester”, not a blackmail victim with an ancient skeleton in his closet. So few now recall the Franklin Savings and Loan scandal. I’m sure President Elect Trump realizes that if his administration is ever to get off the ground, it will have to survive confirmation hearings. For the most part, the best Generals do and say what they’re told. But they also have the balls to tell the truth when push comes to shove. Career politicians lack that attribute.

  17. RichardKane.PhillyPA
    December 8, 2016 at 15:04

    Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism believe that Mohammad’s chosen heir’s have a God given responsibility to make mortals obey God and God’s messenger. ISIS and al Qaeda believe that the reason Muslim’s aren’t proud of their heritage is because the Saudi King lost his 10th century bite and want to toughen him and/or replace him, a kind of good cop bad cop dance.

  18. Abe
    December 8, 2016 at 14:50

    The question of Israeli cooperation with Saudi Arabia and Turkey is not an idle one because if President Trump is to achieve anything meaningful in the Middle East, he must begin by leveling with the American people about what the U.S. government really knows and then acting on the reality that Israel – with its support of Al Qaeda and Islamic State in Syria – can no longer be coddled.

  19. Abe
    December 8, 2016 at 14:47

    “As early as 2007, US journalists like Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh warned of US policymakers plotting with Saudi Arabia to use militants aligned with Al Qaeda to overthrow the governments of both Syria and Iran. In his article, ‘The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,’ Hersh prophetically reported:

    “‘To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.’

    “[A 2009] Brookings policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” […] would advocate the use of terrorism, color revolutions, staged provocations, sanctions and a vast array of other methods to provoke war with and overthrow the government of Iran. As a prerequisite for war with Iran, the paper noted that Syria would need to be dealt with.

    “In 2011, it became clear that many of the methods described in minute detail in the Brookings policy paper were put into practice, targeting the government in Damascus, not Tehran.

    “In essence, the Brookings Institution and their gallery of desk-bound warmongers have not only advocated a destructive war they themselves calculate has cost nearly half a million lives, but have advocated both before and during the war, the state sponsorship of terrorist organizations to fuel this war […]

    “In the end, the US will have to either abandon its enterprise in Syria, or pledge increasingly open support for ISIS and Al Nusra.”

    US Policymakers Propose Working Closer with ISIS’ Sponsors
    By Tony Cartalucci

  20. Paul
    December 8, 2016 at 13:56

    I’ll keep it short: another superb article at one of the best news and analysis publications in the business.

    Some day the US government will come to realize that honesty is also a source of authority. Until then, consortium news may be in for a rough ride.

    • Fritz
      December 8, 2016 at 16:20

      Some day the US government will come to realize that honesty is also a source of authority.

      That will never happen.(And has never happened.)

  21. Gregory Kruse
    December 8, 2016 at 12:56

    I am glad to see Mr. Parry upping the ante or doubling down on the truth. This is the proper and courageous reaction to the recent attacks on consortium news and other sterling sources which aim to discredit them and me. Me being just one little harmless guy who loves the truth and supports I’m afraid we are all going to get into trouble if we continue to insist upon knowing and communicating the truth, but what choice do we have?

  22. Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
    December 8, 2016 at 12:47

    It is interesting that I seldom see the mention of Gen Wesley Clark’s 2003 statement in his book, Winning Modern Wars, about the plan to take out seven Middle Eastern governments. The US has aligned with Saudi Arabia and, I believe, the second largest (after Israel) amount of money given to a foreign country goes to the Saudi Arabia. I believe this is because they are such an important part of creating the radical chaos in the Middle East. I believe the US government is quite aware of Saudi’s promotion of Wahhabism, including the support of Islamic radicalization here in the US. US religious sites will serve as headquarters when, or if, there is a radical Islamic attempt to disrupt or take over the US. Is this also a plan of the Controllers? Saudi Arabia has been used by the US (or is the US used by Saudi Arabia) to foment the radical Islam movement. The US has been shipping arms, etc., to ISIS, and, as in the case of Libya, used it to destroy more secular governments Libya was considered a model for what the Middle East Countries could do for the people. But then, Qaddafi wanted to unite Africa and free it from Western control, using the gold-based Dinar and not the dollar, so of course he had to go. Assad, being a Baathist like US installed Hussein, is another example of a secular leader. So while the US is encouraging fear and anger toward Muslims, the US government tries to take out more secular Middle Eastern leaders. In short, ISIS or IS, or Al Qaeda, has always been promoted, and perhaps, as has been suggested, generated by the US (CIA). Benghazi was a part of all this and needs the light of day to illuminate the Middle Eastern tragedy. MSM tells you how sad it is that people are suffering from Assad and Russian bombs, but there is no report on the suffering from US bombs. Why is the US bombing in seven or eight countries while we have not declared war on any?

  23. Vera
    December 8, 2016 at 12:34

    And Washington is just as guilty and must also be held accountable.

  24. Peter Loeb
    December 8, 2016 at 12:21


    Hasn’t Robert Parry begun to realize that attempts to explain what is really
    going on can be suicidal? And they are especially dangerous if they involve
    Israel in any way.

    Thanks for an excellent essay.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  25. R. Merrill
    December 8, 2016 at 11:47

    Yes, of course, all of this is true and even a lot more. The bottom line is that Saudi Arabia is a front for US/CIA organized and funded terrorism. The game plan for terrorist acts committed around the world is developed with in the US regime and sub-contracted out to criminal states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and others.

    Washington politicians know this very well. One of the few good things Trump has said is that he’ll open the investigation of Saudi Arabia. But it is really not very likely to happen.

    • Gregory Herr
      December 8, 2016 at 19:04

      That is the bottom line.

  26. Mark K
    December 8, 2016 at 11:40

    Bravo. I believe Mr Parry indeed mentioned IED attacks on US troops. I remember our generals’ press conference with the shaped charges supplied by Iran.I understand that Iran considers the US to be determined to attack it,that US supported Iraq in the war wth Iran and that US advisors devised the killing pocket strategies whereby the Iraqi’s let Iranian infantry through the lines and then closed the pocket and killed them all with chemical weapons. Then, when Iran was turning the tide, the US shot down a civilian airliner and Iran believed the US was attacking them directly and stopped the war with Iraq, Then, the US left Saddam in power and sat back and watched Saddam put down a Shia uprising via Chemical Ali. Then, for no apparent reason (other than obviously made up propaganda, released after Bush had put an army in place on the borders) the US attacks and occupies Iraq for years.
    I don’t understand all of this, but I can see the point of view that these were not all good faith mistakes and co-incidences.
    I recommend to all “America’s War for the Middle East” by Col. Andrew Bacevich.

    • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
      December 8, 2016 at 13:36

      Yes, this is a great article and greatly needed!

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 19:57

      That was about the time Saddam Hussein learned the US had been double-dealing sending weapons to Iran that was followed by an Iraqi jet “accidentally” shooting a couple of Exocet missiles into the USS Stark killing 37 crew members. The Reagan administration accepted the Iraqi story and betrayed those sailors just as the LBJ administration betrayed the crew of the USS Liberty.

  27. Sam F
    December 8, 2016 at 11:19

    An excellent article detailing money’s purchase of opportunist support in US politics, in addition to its suppression of public debate in the mass media, and elevation of corrupt politicians with campaign bribes. Truly Washington is a swamp of corruption in all forms, fed by money left unregulated by a Model T of a constitution. History will record its sad and almost certainly irreversible decline into savagery, and no one will miss it when it goes.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 19:51

      As the old saying goes, we have the best democracy money can buy.

  28. Sally Snyder
    December 8, 2016 at 09:55

    Here is an explanation of Wahhabism, the Saudi version of Islam:
    This particular version of Islam is unique to Saudi Arabia, one of America’s key allies in the Middle East and yet it is the source of much of the world’s Islam related violence.

  29. December 8, 2016 at 09:17

    the 9/11 families have known these facts for years. that’s why we fought for JASTA. currently, we are up against the Kingdom’s 16 highly paid lobbying firms and several well-entrenched elected officials like McCain, Graham, Corker, and Thornberry (to name a few) who are hell-bent on gutting JASTA. we are outgunned; and we could use help.

    until the Kingdom is held accountable for their role in funding sunni radical terrorism that targets Americans and others from the west, the Kingdom will continue to do so at its whim–and not just because of the lack of deterrence. it’s not that hard to figure out why American leaders are so willing to look the other way–because they benefit. it’s the rest of us who pay the price by being their pawns and collateral damage. i know, because my husband was the collateral damage of their foreign policy on 9/11.

    • Gregory Kruse
      December 8, 2016 at 12:51

      The proper response to 9/11 is a cruise missile through the front door of the palace in Riyadh.

    • Robin Morritt
      December 10, 2016 at 15:55

      Thank you for sharing that. I’m sorry that all I can offer are my condolences.

  30. Dr. Ip
    December 8, 2016 at 09:05

    Ah, well, Boris Johnson, as reported by the BBC [] just said: “There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives.

    “That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region. And the tragedy for me – and that’s why you have these proxy wars being fought the whole time in that area – is that there is not strong enough leadership in the countries themselves.

    “There are not enough big characters, big people, men or women, who are willing to reach out beyond their Sunni or Shia or whatever group to the other side and bring people together and to develop a national story again.

    “That is what’s lacking. And that’s the tragedy,” he said, adding that “visionary leadership” was needed in the region.

    He went on: “That’s why you’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.”

    Now of course he mentions both sides as culprits, but the fact that he actually mentioned the Saudis as culprits of anything is causing a sh*t-storm in the teacups at Downing Street.

    Everybody knows the emperor is naked, but nobody is allowed to say it out loud.

  31. John Heller
    December 8, 2016 at 08:52

    You fail to mention Iran’s propagation of IED’s against American soldiers and their nuclear program.
    At least 500 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were directly linked to Iran and its support for anti-American militants — a newly disclosed statistic that offers grim context for the Obama administration’s diplomatic deal with the Iranian regime aimed at curtailing the rogue nation’s nuclear ambitions.

    • edward e parker
      December 8, 2016 at 13:07

      Why is the US there in the first place, I would love to see the invitation sent to the US from Iraq ” would you please bomb us”

    • Sammy TT
      December 8, 2016 at 13:27

      You should read the whole article before commenting. He did mention IEDs — but points out that attacking military targets is not the same thing as what is traditionally thought of as terrorism, which is traditionally defined as the use of indiscriminate violence against civilians to generate fear and achieve political aims.

    • John
      December 8, 2016 at 14:21

      Had you read the article, you would have known that the IEDs used against occupying military units was not neglected by the article, as you claim, but was not only mentioned in the article, but that claims of this being terrorism were roundly debunked. (By definition, targetting an occupying military is resistance to occupation, and not Terrorism, as Terrorism, by definition, is a targetting of civilians)

      As far as the nuclear program, persuing nuclear power and isotopes needed for medical devices is not terrorism, either. Even if the claim that there was a nuclear weapons program in Iran were trye (Which it is not, as all 16 US intelligence agencies as well as the Israeli Mossad have unequivocally atates it is not), this would not be Terrorism, as if it was, the US and Israel, both of whom have nuclear weapons, would be far ahead of them in this. Threatening to use nuclear weapons afainst civilians (as the US has repeatedly done, every time they state “all options are on the table”, or Israel has done (through their “Samson Doctrine”), as well as using nuclear weapons against civilians (as the US has done in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus thousands of dirty bombs used in Fallujah, Kosovo, and elsewhere) would, however, be terrorism. Owning a gun does not make you a murderer, afterall.

      Do you really think that readers of this site are so stupid as to fall for your long discredited bullshit?

      • Fritz
        December 8, 2016 at 15:45

        Acknowledging the truth is impossible for individuals with an Israeli bias. They always have their redirect ready, no matter what. It is always the same story coming from them.

    • Abe
      December 8, 2016 at 15:09

      Hasbara ‘splainer “John” does not fail to mention two principal Israeli anti-Iran propaganda canards that we’ll be hearing ad nauseum in the coming months.

      Israeli anti-Iran propaganda constantly spews from the pie holes of the Israel Lobby’s bots in Congress.

      Most zealous for the lord is the youngest U.S. Senator, Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas (quoted in the Military Times screed above).

      Cotton has been receiving heavy support from pro-Israel groups due to his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and for his hawkish stance towards Iran. A number of pro-Israel American billionaires have contributed millions of dollars to Cotton., William Kristol’s The Emergency Committee for Israel spent $960,000 to support Cotton.

      • John
        December 8, 2016 at 16:29

        Are you referring to me, or John Heller?

        I am guessing it’s not me, as the only Hasbara ‘splaining I ever do is explaining what Hasbara is while I am debunking it…

        • Abe
          December 8, 2016 at 18:03

          Yes, I was referring to the ‘splainin’ of “John Heller” above.

          Israel Lobby talking points on Iran (and Syria, and Libya, and Iraq) are manufactured from long discredited bullshit and “foreign government information.”

    • rosemerry
      December 8, 2016 at 16:28

      Why is it that the USA is allowed to invade and occupy a distant country yet the neighboring States are forbidden to help? Iran was asked to help when Iraq was invaded in 2003; Why is the USA the only one (with the “coalition of the willing” of course) to join the fray uninvited, and Iraqis the only ones to die?

      “rogue nation’s nuclear ambitions.” Israel, I presume!!!

    • Gregory Herr
      December 8, 2016 at 18:43

      The fall of Iran’s parliamentary system of government under a democratically elected prime minister in 1953 was a direct result of U.S. malfeasance. Support for the Shah of Iran from the U,S., whose police state emerged after the coup, was unequivocal and led to the fundamentalist uprising in 1979. The devastating Iraq-Iran war of the 80’s was promoted by U.S. policymakers who played both sides to extend the conflict. So it is no surprise, given history and the way the U.S. went about its invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq, that antiAmerican militants put up resistance, with or without some help from Iran.

      • Gregory Herr
        December 8, 2016 at 19:00

        And while we’re at it, about those improvised exploding devices…do you John Heller care to criticize the military’s failure to provide adequate blast protection specifically for those devices long after the problem was apparent and many had died or suffered horrific injury? Oh yeah…I forgot what Rummy told the troops…something about going to war with what you have and not what you wish to have.

    • Bill Bodden
      December 8, 2016 at 19:45

      You fail to mention Iran’s propagation of IED’s against American soldiers and their nuclear program

      What nuclear program? “Worse still for Bush, Cheney and their sycophants, the NIE of November 2007, endorsed by all 16 agencies of the Intelligence Community began: “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” –

    • edward e parker
      December 8, 2016 at 20:00

      Not sure why the US is there, would love to see the “please come bomb us” invitation from Iraq, maybe if they were not there, these lads may not be stepping on explosive, just saying

    • Zachary Smith
      December 8, 2016 at 21:33

      Now what the hell does “You fail to mention Iran’s propagation of IED’s against American soldiers and their nuclear program” mean?

      I’d guess it’s propaganda baby talk for Iran being responsible, no matter what. Funny thing though, I do remember reading about US raids on machine shops in Iraq where the locals were machining the copper disks used in the Explosively Formed Projectiles needed for the most destructive anti-armor IEDs. The Zionist propagandists switched gears faster than an Indy Race Car driver and started chanting that Iran had given the Iraqis the technology. It had to be that way because everybody knew the towelheads were too dumb to have figured it out for themselves. Just like it had to be Iran’s fault, no matter what. Israel and its propaganda shills are desperate to get the US in another War-for-Israel, and because Trump is such a loose cannon and has surrounded himself with so many Iran-Haters, they just might manage it. Again.

      U.S. blames Iran for new bombs in Iraq

    • Stephan Larose
      December 10, 2016 at 00:20

      Your comment is hilarious. The US invasion of Iraq was illegal!! It’s a war crime!! How are occupying US soldiers immune to attacks in that situation? They are a MILITARY target, so no, it’s not terrorism. If the US doesn’t want its soldiers killed by IEDs, don’t send them to fight illegal wars of aggression that kill 1 million innocent people in the first place!

      And what part of Iran’s 100% legal nuclear program is “terrorism?” The only ACTUAL nuclear pariah in the region is Israel–who use their nukes to blackmail the US and threaten Iran and even Europe with annihilation. Israel is a massive state-sponsor of terrorism–their military operations in Palestine kill 90% civilians, and they provide ISIS fighters with weapons, financing and medical aid.

      Iran isn’t the problem. It hasn’t attacked anyone in over 200 years, does not finance Al Queda, ISIS, or Al Nusra, and doesn’t launch illegal wars and regime change operations that kill millions of innocent people. The US does that. The biggest terrorist and war criminal on the planet is the US.

    • Call A Spade
      December 11, 2016 at 02:55

      The US were the invaders and killers of millions. 500 murders deaths seems so few.

    • Maria S calef
      December 11, 2016 at 21:08

      The “anti-American” is byproduct of USA military aggressions to those countries; Iraq on the false assumption of wmd, and against Afghanistan where USA -Saudi arabia are the father founders of the terrorism network since the 80s. The deaht of USA military are the result of the resistance to foreign invassin to these countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. What do you think? people will not going to react to foreign forces invassors? But the death toll of innocent Iraqies people reach more than a million

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