This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Allies and Enemies : Right Hand/Left Hand

"If this is purely a conversation about counterterrorism cooperation, and if the Saudis are a big part of the problem in creating terrorism in the first place, then how persuasive of an argument is it [that they're reliable allies]?"
William McCants, (former) State Department counterterroism adviser

"They [Saudis] want a seat at the table, and a say in what the agenda of the table is going to be."
Bruce Riedel (former) C.I.A. analyst

Is the Central Intelligence Agency that separate in design and intention from the Obama administration that it swerves directly off from President Obama's direction in turning from traditional Middle East allies to the Islamic Republic of Iran? Mr. Obama's decisions appear to stem from his determination to withdraw the United States as much as he can manage it, from Middle East affairs, contrary to American history in the region. To that end, he is counting on an Iran freed from constraints to pursue its domination agenda, and in the process, subdue Sunni jihadist radicals.

In doing such a thing, if it is at all possible without an all-out sectarian bloodbath afflicting all the Muslim countries of the Middle East in one gigantic upheaval of gory dimensions, Iran's Ayatollahs will have fulfilled their promise to themselves that Shiite Persian conquest of majority Sunni Arab countries is possible. Iran's march toward nuclear weaponry which they stridently denied they had any wish to achieve, but still negotiated with the P5+1 to assure interlocutors that they deserved relief from economy-strangling sanctions to enable them to get on with their agenda was meant to furnish the final persuasive push in achieving dominance.

The CIA, on the other hand, remains wedded to its traditional partner to provide the financing and discretionary assistance to maintain some level of control in the Middle East. Without authorization from the White House? Not likely Iran/Contra redux. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, and continues to contribute weapons and funding to the C.I.A. to train Syrian rebels in the best-practise use of AK-47 assault rifles and missiles capable of destroying Syrian regime tanks. The spy services of Saudi Arabia and that of the US. has been well cemented.

The Saudis provided support for the mujahedeen against the Soviets in their Afghanistan invasion, as well as proxy conflicts in Africa. The most infamous Saudi mujahedeen in Afghanistan's struggle against Russian occupation later turned to planning a vendetta against both Saudi Arabia and the United States. The Saudis, however, are skilled at writing generous cheques, both at the state and the individual level, to fund covert activities, thanks to its vast oil Treasury reserves, now  under strain.

The truly unlikely bedfellow compromises made by the United States with the Wahhabist kingdom responsible for creating the jihadist monster of Sunni terror that devolved from the massive Saudi investment in Wahhabi madrasses from Somalia to Pakistan, Australia to Germany, Britain to Canada, where the U.S. State Department practises its version of diplomatic avoidance in failing to condemn Saudi human rights abuses is just another little peculiarity of Realpolitik.

Just as is the avoidance of unequivocal condemnation of violent, political Islam by referring to Islamic terrorists as "attackers" to avoid giving offense to the faithful. As much as the United States Treasury has spent on various conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria, it is Saudi funding that is arming and helping to train the Syrian rebels to fight both the regime and Islamic State, which both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar had covertly funded; a monster gone amok, just as al-Qaeda had done.

On the other hand, President Obama wants the Sunni nations to take a greater role in establishing peace and normalcy in relations between countries of the Middle East, to relieve America from further in-depth involvement. He wants to withdraw U.S. military personnel, not add to their presence, and has been encouraging Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to take a more robust role in settling conflicts. Mr. Obama seems to feel that he can achieve what the Arab League did not.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan had directed Saudi spies to buy up thousands of AK-47s and rounds of ammunition to match in Eastern Europe, to be dispatched to the Syrian rebels. The Qataris helped finance training, and welcomed a base in Qatar as a training location. Fairly unrealistic as it is to provide assault rifles but not more sophisticated weaponry to match those of the Syrian regime. Still, the Saudis want extra pay-back for their investment in the Syrian civil war. And the American rapprochement with Iran does not reflect the kind of dividends they expected.

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