What is the truth behind Islamic Caliphate and Western Posturing!
Media, especially corporate and government controlled in the West, whose lies have exposed them as nothing but media pimps and whores, has been full of mostly misleading, diversionary fables about Islamic State /ISIS?ISL, except that people in Western Asia, Shias or Sunnis are paying a very heavy price because of overt and covert interference by many Western governments controlled by military industry complex, energy and other corporate sectors and their puppets in the Gulf fattened on unearned oil riches, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar .The worst situation is for ancient historic minorities like Yedizis ( I visited a home in south-east Turkey ) ,Christians and other minorities. Except for the area that is now occupied by Islamic caliphate in the desert between Euphrates and Tigris, I have a fair idea of the topography, especially all along the border of Turkey with Syria, right up to north Iraq.
I am enclosing below few very good articles which I think will help the reader to get some clear idea about the truth behind the fog created by Western media and its counterparts elsewhere.
Vijay Prashad now stationed in Beirut, which is a good listening post has written a fine piece for Hindu, except that he is a leftist. For anyone to believe that democracy can come around any time soon in Muslim states of the Middle East believes in mirages. Look at situation in Turkey, the ruling party is becoming more and more authoritarian and Islamist and deeply involved in support of Islamic caliphate, for which sooner or later it will pay very heavy price. Look at Egypt or nearer home in Pakistan.
During late Rajeev Gandhi's visit to Tehran in 1990, just a little before the U.S.-led coalition deadline of 15 January ,1991 to expel Saddam Hussein's troops from Kuwait, he asked Iran's wily President Rafsanjani. "Who will replace Saddam Hussein?" Rafsanjani's reply, "Saddam Hussein" ie only a military ruler or an authoritarian regime can keep the states created by the WWI victors England and France in control and peace. Because of more terrible weapons of war and communications, it will take quite some time for the suffering masses in West Asia to have a reasonable peace and survival chances.
The warmongers in the West, led by Obama after a MAD like situation in Syria last year are now in Ukraine creating a situation like 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba. By accident or otherwise a Holocaust or even an Armageddon cannot be ruled out. Only patience and control shown by Vladimir Putin, with tacit support from China and many countries of Asia and elsewhere has arrested inching towards almost a mutual assured destruction.
At the end is an article about money role of Saudi Arabia and Tiny Qatar in financing ISIS ,in fact all terror outfits ,in case of Riyadh beginning with Mujahaddin in Afghanistan, to Al Qaeda, Taleban and you name it.
These are important articles .Keep them for ready reference. For a map of the region click
K.Gajendra Singh 7 September, 2014.
The pendulum of the Islamic State
VIJAY PRASHAD HINDU 6914 Oped
Only if the social conditions that produced the IS — the inequality and the despair — are altered could it be truly vanquished
U.S. air strikes halted the columns of Islamic State (IS). Toyota trucks, armoured personnel carriers and howitzers lay flattened on their march toward the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Irbil. Bombardment just north of Baghdad sent the IS fighters back toward the river Tigris. It allowed the Iraqi Army and Shiite militias (Badr and Salaam Brigades) to reclaim Amerli, a largely Shia town. What they did not do was to destroy or even degrade the legions of the IS.
The IS retaliation for these air strikes came in two brutal taped executions of U.S. journalists — first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff. The London-accented IS militant announced to U.S. President Barack Obama, "As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone." Beyond these murders, and more that may follow, it is unlikely that the IS can do any more damage to the U.S. directly.
Swinging into Syria
Like a pendulum, the fighters of the IS swung into Syria. They had no intention to face the U.S. bombers. Instead, their columns rushed through the Great Syrian Desert past their "capital" of Raqqa, across the River Euphrates, to take the Tabqa airbase. A fierce gunfight ended with the retreat of the Syrian government troops. Close to 400 IS fighters died in this battle (they are estimated to have at least 20,000 men in arms). In a grotesque scene, the IS forced marched 150 government troops — young men stripped to their underwear — into the desert and shot them. Based on this massacre and another near Tikrit (Iraq) in June, the United Nations has now accused the IS of crimes against humanity.
Capture of the Tabqa base at the crossroads of northern Syria is significant for many reasons. It had been the eyes and ears of the Syrian regime for the northern belt that includes most of the Turkish border. It is across this border that many of the jihadis have been trafficked from around the planet to join the IS — many crossed over between Kilis and A'zaz (where Sotloff had been abducted). Taking Tabqa allowed the IS control of the roads that lead directly to Aleppo and to Hama. Intense fighting along the belt that links Mhardeh and Houla suggests that IS and its allies (including its fractious cousin, Jabhat al-Nusra) have the ability to threaten the western coastal towns of Tartous and Latakia. The Syrian Army was able to block an al-Nusra and IS advance toward the largely Christian town of Mhardeh. Tension remains high as morale in the IS soars.
On the Mediterranean coast, both Lebanon and Israel are threatened as the pendulum of the IS moves toward them. IS beheaded one of the Lebanese soldiers it had captured last month in the Beka'a Valley, and threatened to execute the nine other soldiers that it holds captive. It did not help him that the Lebanese soldier, Ali al-Sayyed, is a Sunni Muslim. Nor did it help Syrian journalist Bassam Raies, also executed by the IS (a death ignored by the world media). Meanwhile, Jabhat al-Nusra took the Quneitra crossing that straddles the disputed Golan Heights claimed by Syria and Israel. Al-Nusra captured 44 Fijian U.N. peacekeepers, while 40 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers escaped with the help of both Syrian and Israeli air cover. Al-Nusra has ambitions to secure this region as a launch pad to Damascus, as the IS makes its move from the northern roadways. Syria's 90th Brigade and 7th Division sit along the road near Khan Arnabeh, blocking access to Damascus. Things are quiet for now, but perhaps not for long.
Discomfort is palpable in the regional capitals. U.S. air strikes cannot destroy IS. The canny IS prefers to swing across the vast territory that it threatens. A proper ground assault against IS cannot come because of the contradictions of U.S. policy in the region. In Iraq, U.S. air power did not only deliver the advantage to the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga, but also to the Turkish and Syrian Kurdish fighters (the YPG and the PKK). Turkey and the U.S. see the PKK as a terrorist organisation, although it and its Syrian ally the YPG have been fierce in their defence of what they called Western Kurdistan (Rojava or north-eastern Syria). The Shiite militias of Iraq (Badr and Salaam Brigades as well as the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq) and the Shiite militia of Lebanon (Hezbollah) have also been unyielding against the IS — again the U.S. and the Europeans claim Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation and they hold the Badr Brigades, trained by Iran, at arm's length.
Syrian armed power, degraded by its long civil war and by defections to the Free Syrian Army, is still strong enough to seriously damage the long-term prospects of the IS. But Syria's regime has restricted its Army to defend its main corridor between Damascus and the coastline. It will not direct its armies to the north. To do so would leave it vulnerable to the rebels' Southern Front, which continues to be egged on by the West to seize Damascus. The U.S. trains Syrian rebels in the deserts of eastern Jordan. Full Syrian participation against the IS will not happen if the threat to Damascus remains intact. Major U.S. allies in the region, such as Turkey and Jordan also seem in two minds. Jordan has indicated to the U.S. that it will defend its borders, but it does not want to enter the conflict. The King's advisers fear that al-Nusra and the IS have cells amongst the close to a million Syrian refugees in the country, and amongst Jordan's home-grown radicals. Turkey's economy has taken a hit from the emergence of IS – markets in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are no longer easily accessible. Legitimate trade has been eclipsed by smugglers, including those who traffic jihadis and journalists as well as IS- delivered oil from Syria's Omar oilfields. Despite threats to Turkey, its new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutog˘lu can only bring himself to describe the IS as "a radical organisation with a terrorist-like structure." Options for Jordan and Turkey remain limited, mainly by their commitments to the overthrow of Assad.
Responsibility for the emergence of the IS vests with a number of key actors. The United States' reckless war on Iraq created the reservoir for jihadis, as money from the Gulf Arabs came to sustain them in an emerging sectarian clash against an ascendant Iran. The narrow and suffocating Assad and al-Maliki regimes – which alienated large sections of Sunnis – propelled the disenfranchised to reckless rebellion. In 2007, the cartoonist Ali Ferzat said of the process called the Damascus Spring (2005), "either reform or le deluge [the flood]." It was the flood. Alienated people who measure their alienation in sectarian terms (Sunni) cannot be only defeated in the battlefield. Political reforms need to be on the cards. So too must an alternative to the economic agenda pursued in both Iraq and Syria since the mid-2000s. Under U.S. pressure, the Assad and al-Maliki governments pursued neo-liberal policies that increased inequality and despair. Absent a politics of class, the platforms against neo-liberal corruption took on a harsh sectarian cast. The IS fed on that alienation for its own diabolical agenda. It can be halted by air strikes and degraded by ground warfare. But only if the social conditions that produced the IS — the inequality and the despair — are altered could it be truly vanquished.
(Vijay Prashad is the author of The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (LeftWord, 2013).)
The Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria proclaims to the whole world his next target is none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin,(below)
THE ROVING EYE
Will NATO liberate Jihadistan?
By Pepe Escobar Asia Times 5914
Drive your cart and your plow
Over the bones of the dead …
- William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, really sports a mean PR vein. When the show seemed scheduled for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to save Ukraine and Western Civilization - at least rhetorically - from that Evil Empire remixed, Russia, The Caliph, accessing his expensive watch wisdom, intervened with - what else - yet another "off with their heads" special.
Eyebrows were properly raised until the United States' intel alphabet soup solemnly concluded that Islamic State (IS) really beheaded yet another American journalist on video (US President Barack Obama: "An horrific act of violence").
And then, out of the blue, The Caliph doubled down, proclaiming to the whole world his next target is none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Was he channeling the recently ostracized Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush?
In thesis, everything would be settled. The Caliph becomes a contractor to NATO (well, he's been on to it, sort of). The Caliph beheads Putin. The Caliph liberates Chechnya - fast; not the usual, deeply embarrassing NATO quagmire in Afghanistan. The Caliph, on a roll, attacks the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The Caliph becomes NATO's shadow secretary-general. And Obama finally stops complaining that his calls to Putin always end up on voicemail.
Ah, if geopolitics was as simple as a Marvel Comics blockbuster.
Instead, The Caliph should know - even as he is largely a Made-in-the-West product, with substantial input from Gulf Cooperation Council petrodollar cash - that NATO never promised him a rose garden.
So, predictably, those ungrateful Obama and David Cameron, the British Prime Minister - oh yes, because the "special relationship" is all that matters in NATO, the others are mere extras - have vowed to go after him with a broad (well, not that broad) "coalition of the willing" with the usual GCC suspects plus Turkey and Jordan, bombing Iraqi Kurdistan, parts of Sunni Iraq and even Syria.
After all, Syrian President "Bashar al-Assad must go", rather "Assad brutality" in Cameron's formulation, is the real culprit for The Caliph's actions.
And all in the name of the Enduring Freedom Forever-style Global War on Terror.
Now get me that Slavic Caliph NATO's outgoing secretary-general Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen was somehow rattled. After all, this was supposed to be the "crucial moment", at the NATO summit in Wales, when NATO would be at its Cold War 2.0 best, rescuing "the allies", all 28 of them, from the dark gloom of insecurity.
One just had to look at the replica of a glorious Eurofighter Typhoon deployed in front of the NATO summit hotel in the southern Welsh town of Newport.
To round it all off, that evil Slavic Caliph, Vlad Putin himself, designed a seven-point peace plan to solve the Ukrainian quagmire - just as Kiev's appalling army has been reduced to strogonoff by the federalists and/or separatists in the Donbass. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - who until virtually yesterday was screaming "Invasion!" at the top of his lungs - breathed long sighs of relief. And as an aside, he disclosed Kiev was receiving high-precision weapons from an unnamed country that could only be the US, the UK or Poland.
The whole thing posed a problem, though. What is NATO to defend Western Civilization from when all that threat embodied by "Russian aggression" dissolves into a road map to peace?
No wonder the 60 heads of state and government with their Ministers of Defense and Foreign Relations who performed a soft invasion/breaching of the "ring of steel" protecting Newport from protesting hordes were also somehow dazed an confused.
Over 11 years after Shock and Awe, we are still living in a Rumsfeldian world. It was the former Pentagon head David Rumsfeld under George "Dubya" Bush who conceptualized "Old Europe" and "New Europe". "Old" were Venusian sissies; "New" were vigorous Martians.
"New" totally supported Shock and Awe, and the subsequent invasion/occupation of Iraq. Now they support, in fact beg, for NATO to stare down Russia.
"Old", for its part, was trying at least to save a negotiating space with Putin. And in the end dear prudence, especially by Berlin, was rewarded with the Putin peace plan.
Just in case, not to rattle the Empire of Chaos too much, Paris announced it won't deliver the first of two Mistral helicopter carrier battleships to Moscow according to schedule. And of course NATO strongly condemned Russia on Ukraine, and the European Union followed up with yet more sanctions.
As for Fogh of War, predictably, he kept juggling his "Mars Attacks!" rhetoric (see Asia Times Online, September 3, 2014). It was all Moscow's fault. NATO is nothing but an innocent force of appeasement - powerful and solid. At the same time, NATO would not be foolish to start depicting Russia as an enemy outright.
So, as Asia Times Online reported, NATO at best will help train Kiev's forces; the Donbass performance showed they badly need it. But there will be no Ukraine "integration" - for all the hysteria deployed by Kiev and well as Poland and the Baltic states calling for permanent bases. The new element will be the remixed NATO Response Force (NRF) which, by the way, was never used before.
NRF even comes with a catchy slogan: "Travel light and strike hard". An 800-strong battalion will be able to strike in two days, and a 5,000-strong brigade between five and seven days. Well, by those "travel light" standards it would hardly be enough to prevent The Caliph from annexing larger parts of Jihadistan with his gleaming white Toyota combo. As for "strike hard", ask Pashtuns in the Hindu Kush for an informed opinion.
So Wales yielded NRF; permanent "rotation" and permanent forward bases to "protect" Central and Eastern Europe; and everybody shelling out more cash (no less than 2% of their GDP each, for all 28 members, from here to 2025). All this in the middle of the third European recession in five years.
Now compare the astonishing combined NATO military budget of US$900 billion (75% of all expenses monopolized by the US) with only $80 billion for Russia. Yet Moscow is the "threat".
Needless to add, even under so much sound and fury, Wales did not yield NATO sitting on a Freudian divan - analyzing in an endless monologue its abject failure in both Afghanistan and Libya.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban basically run rings around NATO's bases and "strike hard" movements, demoralizing them to oblivion. That was NATO in GWOT mode.
And in Libya, NATO created a failed state ravaged by militias and called it "peace". That was NATO in "Responsibility To Protect" mode.
NATO liberating Jihadistan? The Pentagon couldn't care less. The Pentagon wants eternal GWOT. US Think Tankland is ecstatic at NATO finding a "renewed purpose" and its long-term survival now assured by a "unifying threat". Translation: Russia.
So The Caliph is not exactly quaking in his Made-in-USA desert boots. He's even dreaming of taking on the Slavic Caliph himself. How come Marvel Comics never thought about that?
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at email@example.com.
(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)
NATO's Wales Summit and Action against ISIS !
What is Turkey's position on Islamic Caliphate, which has been a gate way for Jihadists from the West and elsewhere including Sarin gas for use by Jihadists in Syria in 2013 and anti-Syrian actions from 2012 !
Since June 11, 49 Turkish citizens of its Consulate in Iraq have been kept as hostages at the hands of ISIL, Turkey's hands are tied in committing itself actively or passively to the coalition. Turkey will unlikely mobilize its military against ISIL and will hesitate from opening its military bases and facilities, as well as its airspaces to members of the coalition.
Below is an excellent piece by a Turkish journalist Verda Ozer on NATO's coalition of unwilling to take action against Islamic caliphate .Since the Iraqi resistance broke the American army , as admitted in 2006 by member of US Congress Committee late decorated Marine Col John Murtha , Washington has no appetite to put GIs on ground in Middle East. Pentagon is opposed to ground troops intervention by USA.
Coalition of the unwilling
6 Sept 2014 .
"Choose your enemies carefully, but be less picky about your allies." This was the title of a piece published by the Financial Times three days ago, which reflects exactly where we all stand today.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent (ISIL), who now refer to themselves as the Islamic State, remind us all of al-Qaeda terror. Yet, still, the formation of a "coalition of the willing" seems to be a long way off.
Such a coalition was formed and led by the United States in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. The "willing" countries were the ones who supported the military invasion of Iraq and their number had reached 49 by 2003.
It is just the opposite today. There is no one willing at all. Hence, there no real coalition. The result of the two-day NATO summit in Wales that ended on Sept. 5 proved this. It was announced that a "core coalition" of 10 countries, including only one neighbor of Iraq, Turkey, has been formed. However, its objective was declared as "shoring up those who are fighting against ISIL." Hence, it should be named a "support group" rather than a "coalition."
Building up a regional coalition seems to be the only strategy the U.S. has in hand. It was first the chairman of the Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, who brought that forward: "Only a broad, long-standing and organized regional coalition composed of Muslim countries can defeat ISIS." He also specified these countries: "I believe that our key allies in the region – Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – will join us in quashing it."
President Barack Obama joined this rhetoric during his visit to Estonia just before theNATO summit, which took place this Thursday and Friday in Wales. During the press conference in Tallinn, he said the main aim of the summit would be to build up a regional coalition and to develop a regional strategy.
The same message dominated his joint editorial with British Prime Minister David Cameron, which was published in the British daily The Times the very same day. To the same end, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have just started their trip to the Middle East, which will include a visit to Turkey.
There are two reasons behind this: Washington thinks that ISIL is a Sunni problem and therefore its solution lies with the Sunnis. In other words, the U.S. aims to withdraw its support for both the local Sunnis and the Sunni countries in the region. Second, the West has taken enough lessons from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and is trying to put the military load of the current conflict with ISIL onto regional powers. Cameron stated this explicitly in Wales: "Our aim is to help countries which are directly threatened by ISIL in their fight on the ground."
However, the emergence of such a coalition is out of sight at the moment. First of all, the U.S. itself doesn't have a concrete strategy yet. Hence its capacity to convince the regional powers is very limited. Furthermore, the regional powers are afraid of ISIL, especially Turkey, which has citizens that are currently being held hostage by it. Moreover, the Gulf countries believe that attacking ISIL in Syria would only strengthen Bashar al-Assad. These countries also have close links with the Sunni tribes and local governors in Iraq and Syria. Last but not least, a reasonable amount of their public and wealthy class are supporters of ISIL's cause.
Beyond all of these, the status of NATO is also problematic. The collective security institution that was established 65 years ago fulfilled its mission when the Soviet Union dissolved 23 years ago. Since then it has been in a continuous – and unsuccessful – effort in attempting to find a new mission for itself.
And now the organization is expected to address the ISIL threat. However, it is almost impossible to make this Cold War institution adapt to the new challenges of the 21st century. This is why no concrete step toward ISIL has materialized from the summit.
In short, it seems to be impossible that the U.S. could even form a "coalition of the unwilling" under the current circumstances. Other than the Kurdish peshmergas and the Iraqi government, the only actors who it could ally with seem to be Iran and Syria's al-Assad. This brings us back to the very top of this column. Being picky seems to be an unaffordable luxury today.
Sunday 24 August 2014
Meet the Frankenstein monster of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Or as we know them, Isis
Having spent billions, the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are finding that money can't buy loyalty
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Thanks to the immediacy of television, innocent civilians in Syria were writhing from gas attacks before our eyes, with the blame laid on their own government. Yet despite a red line having been crossed by this use of chemical weapons, the international community decided against air strikes on the Assad regime.
Instead we encouraged two oil-rich Arab states, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to continue arming rebel groups to oust the ruthless dictator in Damascus. Now, thanks to those weapons, one of the groups has grown into the Frankenstein's monster of the so-called Islamic State whose brutal fighters have swept through Syria and Iraq, crucifying and beheading like a deadly inhuman tide.
Saudi Arabia has been a major source of financing to rebel and terrorist organisations since the 1970s, thanks to the amount it has spent on spreading its puritan version of Islam, developed by Mohammed Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century. The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism. EU intelligence experts estimate that 15 to 20 per cent of this has been diverted to al-Qa'ida and other violent jihadists.
The only other official Wahhabi country is Saudi's Gulf neighbour Qatar, which is, per capita, the richest country in the world. It likes to paint itself as a more liberal and open version of the Muslim sect. Its newest and biggest mosque is named after Wahhab, but this is the fun, football-loving version.
The Qataris are Barcelona's shirt sponsors, the owners of Paris St-Germain and, albeit amid allegations of dodgy financial footwork, will host the 2022 World Cup – to which, to the horror of their Saudi neighbours, women will be admitted.
In Qatar, unlike Saudi, women are allowed to drive and travel alone. Westerners can eat pork and drink alcohol. There is no religious police force or powerful class of clerics to enforce morality. Qatar's Al Jazeera television network stands in contrast with the region's state-controlled media, and the Qataris are investing in the West, including the Shard, Harrods and big chunks of Sainsbury's and the London Stock Exchange.
But that is not the crucial difference. Where the Saudis tend to support restrictive strong-man regimes like their own across the Arab world, the Qataris, throughout the Arab Spring, have backed grassroots Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The tiny country has given $200m to Hamas, which is constantly firing low-grade rockets from Gaza into Israel. It is more open-minded towards the Shia Muslims of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, whom the Saudis see as enemies. It even has good relations with the Taliban.
And it has been the biggest funder of the Syrian rebels, with sources in Doha estimating it has spent as much as $3bn in Syria alone – 70 military cargo flights were sent in the past two years – in an attempt to develop networks of loyalty among rebels and set the stage for Qatari influence in a post-Assad era. Riyadh sees its tiny neighbour – "300 people and a TV channel", as one Saudi prince dismissively said – as a troublesome and dangerous gadfly.
The result of all this is that Qatar and Saudi have channelled funds, arms and salaries to different groups in Syria. Until last year they were creating rival military alliances and structures. But their efforts at discrimination have been in vain. On the ground the rebel groups have been porous, with personnel switching to whichever was the best supplied. Fighters grew their beards or shaved them off to fit the ideology of the latest supplier. Many moved to whichever group was having most success on the battlefield. Key Qataris and Saudis felt it didn't matter as long as the result was the fall of Assad. But eventually two of the most extreme groups began to dominate, and eventually one of them, Jabhat al-Nusra, lost dominance to the other, Isis – the ruthless and potent force which has declared itself the Islamic State.
Only towards the end have the funders realised the error of their strategy. The Qatar government has stemmed the flow of funds. At first it believed it could change the ideology of those it funded once the war against Assad was over.
But now it realises it was creating a sleeping monster, as the Saudis had done when they financed the Taliban to fight the Soviets in the 1980s. In April, the Saudis sacked the head of their intelligence services, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who had been responsible for the details of arming the Syrian rebels. His blunders led to the massive empowerment of the kind of grassroots Islamism which is the greatest threat to the Saudi claim to be the leader of global Islam because of its vast wealth and its custodianship of the holy city of Mecca.
They have left it too late. The genie is out of the bottle. Some funds continue to flow from wealthy Qatari individuals and from conservative Saudi preachers collecting funds through their television shows. But the terrorists of the Islamic State, who were earning $8m a month from a Syrian gas field where they have established robust logistical lines, have added a further $1m a day from the half dozen Iraqi oilfields they have seized. Worse still, the conflict in Iraq has solidified into religiously defined ethnic identity lines.
As Washington has now realised, the Islamic State will have to be stopped militarily. But real progress to re-civilise the cradle of civilisation which was Mesopotamia will require countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar – as well as the West, Iran, Israel and Syria – to make some hard decisions about the hierarchy of evil and where their greatest enemy lies.
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