America Has Become a Nation of Incompetents

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George Bush remains the ultimate symbol of ascendant stupidity

A once-proud nation which was the envy of the world now suffers from a kind of omni-present dementia

Having grown up during the second half of the 20th century, I don’t recognize my country today. I experienced life in a competent country, and now I experience life in an incompetent country.

Everything is incompetent. The police are incompetent. They shoot children, grandmothers, cripples, and claim that they feared for their life.

Washington’s foreign police is incompetent. Washington has alienated the world with its insane illegal attacks on other countries. Today the United States and Israel are the two most distrusted countries on earth and the two countries regarded as the greatest threat to peace.

The military/security complex is incompetent. The national security state is so incompetent that it was unable to block the most humiliating attack in history against a superpower that proved to be entirely helpless as a few people armed with box cutters and an inability to fly an airplane destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon itself. The military industries have produced at gigantic cost the F-35 that is no match for the Russian fighters or even for the F-15s and F-16s it is supposed to replace.

The media is incompetent. I can’t think of an accurate story that has been reported in the 21st century. There must be one, but it doesn’t come to mind.

The universities are incompetent. Instead of hiring professors to teach the students, the universities hire administrators to regulate them. Instead of professors, there are presidents, vice presidents, chancellors, vice chancellors, provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, associate deans, assistant deans. Instead of subject matter there is speech regulation and sensitivity training. Universities spend up to 75% of their budgets on administrators, many of whom have outsized incomes.

The public schools have been made incompetent by standardized national testing. The purpose of education today is to pass some test. School accreditation and teachers’ pay depend not on developing the creativity or independent thinking of those students capable of it, but on herding them through memory work for a standardized test.

One could go on endlessly.

Instead, I will relate a story of everyday incompetences that have prevented me from writing this week and for a few more days yet.

Recently, while away from my home, a heavy equipment operator working on a nearby construction site managed to drive under power lines with the fork lift raised. Instead of breaking the wire, it snapped the pole in half that conveyed electric power to my house. The power company came out, or, as I suspect, an outsourced contractor, who reestablished power to my home but did not check that the neutral wire was still attached.

Consequently for a week or so my house experienced round the clock surges of high voltage that blew out the surge protection, breaker box, and every appliance in the house. Expecting my return, the house was inspected, and the discovery was that there was no power. Back came the power company and discovered that high voltage was feeding into the house and had destroyed everything plugged in.

So. Here we have a moron operating heavy equipment who does not understand that he cannot drive under power lines with the lift raised. We have a power company or its outsourced contractor who does not understand that power cannot be reconnected without making certain that the neutral wire is still connected.

So every appliance is fried. Glass everywhere from blown out light bulbs. We are talking thousands of dollars.

This is America today. And the incompetents ruling incompetents want war with Iran, Korea, Russia, China. Considering the extraordinary level of incompetence throughout the United States, I guarantee you that we will not win these wars.

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Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels

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President Trump and his son-in-law bet that the young Saudi crown prince could execute a plan to reshape the Mideast, but the scheme quickly unraveled revealing a dangerous amateur hour, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

Aaron Miller and Richard Sokolsky, writing in Foreign Policy, suggest “that Mohammed bin Salman’s most notable success abroad may well be the wooing and capture of President Donald Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” Indeed, it is possible that this “success” may prove to be MbS’ only success.

President Trump shakes the hand of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman on May 20, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

“It didn’t take much convincing”, Miller and Sokolski wrote: “Above all, the new bromance reflected a timely coincidence of strategic imperatives.”

Trump, as ever, was eager to distance himself from President Obama and all his works; the Saudis, meanwhile, were determined to exploit Trump’s visceral antipathy for Iran – in order to reverse the string of recent defeats suffered by the kingdom.

So compelling seemed the prize (that MbS seemed to promise) of killing three birds with one stone (striking at Iran; “normalizing” Israel in the Arab world, and a Palestinian accord), that the U.S. President restricted the details to family channels alone. He thus was delivering a deliberate slight to the U.S. foreign policy and defense establishments by leaving official channels in the dark, and guessing. Trump bet heavily on MbS, and on Jared Kushner as his intermediary. But MbS’ grand plan fell apart at its first hurdle: the attempt to instigate a provocation against Hezbollah in Lebanon, to which the latter would overreact and give Israel and the “Sunni Alliance” the expected pretext to act forcefully against Hezbollah and Iran.

Stage One simply sank into soap opera with the bizarre hijacking of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri by MbS, which served only to unite the Lebanese, rather than dividing them into warring factions, as was hoped.

But the debacle in Lebanon carries a much greater import than just a mishandled soap opera. The really important fact uncovered by the recent MbS mishap is that not only did the “dog not bark in the night” – but that the Israelis have no intention “to bark” at all: which is to say, to take on the role (as veteran Israeli correspondent Ben Caspit put it), of being “the stick, with which Sunni leaders threaten their mortal enemies, the Shiites … right now, no one in Israel, least of all Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in any hurry to ignite the northern front. Doing so, would mean getting sucked into the gates of hell” (emphasis added).

The Syrian Defeat

Let us be clear, the so-called Sunni Alliance (principally Saudi Arabia and UAE, with Egypt already backing off) has just been roundly defeated in Syria. It has no capability whatsoever to “roll-back” Iran, Hezbollah or the Iraqi PMU (a Shiite militia) – except by using the Israeli “stick.” Israel may have the same strategic interests as the Sunni Alliance, but as Caspit notes, “the Saudis are interested in having Israel do the dirty work for them. But as it turns out, not everyone in Israel is as excited about it.”

Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner, and his wife, Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive at the Murabba Palace as guests of Saudi King Salman, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

This refusal to “bark” (in the famous Conan Doyle account of Sherlock Holmes) somehow knocks the blocks out from under Kushner’s “grand plan” because if Israel is opting out, what is there left to talk about? Israel precisely was the “stick” in Trump’s plan too. No stick: no Sunni Alliance roll-back of Iran; no further Saudi normalization with Israel; no Israeli-Palestinian initiative. MbS’ clumsiness (“reckless[ness]” a US official has called it) has pulled the rug out from under U.S. policy in the Middle East.Caspit calls a prospective clash between the Sunni Alliance and the Iranian-led front “a veritable war of Armageddon.” Those words encapsulate Israeli reservations.

Why did Trump gamble so heavily on the inexperienced Kushner and the impulsive MbS? Well, of course, if such a “grand plan” had indeed worked out, it would have been a major foreign policy coup – and one done over the heads of the professional foreign policy and defense echelon who were excluded from it. Trump then would have felt himself freer to ascend above the Establishment tentacles: to attain a certain elevated independence and freedom from his “minders.” He would have achieved his coup through family channels, rather than be officially advised.

But, if it sinks into farce, and MbS becomes regarded in the U.S. as a maverick, rather than a Machiavelli, the (slighted) “system” will exact its revenge: presidential judgments will stand devalued — and ever more in need of justification and “minding.”

MbS (and Kushner) may have hurt President Trump in a much wider way therefore: the failed bet on the untried MbS may leach into other spheres – such as, in consequence, U.S. allies’ openly questioning the soundness of Trump’s North Korea judgments. In short, the U.S. President’s credibility will bear the consequences for his falling for MbS’ spin.

Wishful Thinking

There is, to be fair, much that is fanciful (even sycophantic) in the Western treatment of Saudi Arabia (President Trump is not alone in his thrall of things Saudi): the very notion of Saudi Arabia transforming itself into some muscular, “modern” regional powerhouse that can stare down Iran, in itself, would seem a tad unrealistic, yet this is widely accepted among U.S. commentators. Yes, the kingdom has little alternative but to transform as its oil dividend approaches expiry, and that may well mean, in theory, wrenching the kingdom onto a new course.

Saudi defense minister, Crown Prince

Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud

 

But defining exactly how the kingdom can re-invent itself, without tearing itself apart, is likely to be much more complex than advocating some superficial embrace of “Western modernity,” or that of combatting “corruption.” These are red herrings: the family is the state; and the state (and its oil wealth) is the family’s. There is no boundary, or demarcated frontier, between state and family. The latter enjoy the privileges and perquisites of birth (depending on proximity, or distance, from the throne). And perquisites awarded or appropriated, reflect only the monarch’s power-needs that serve to sustain his absolutism. There is no “damned merit” or equity in this system, nor was it ever intended.

What then can the term “corruption” mean in such a system? Saudi Arabia does not even pretend to a level, rules-based playing field. The law (and the rules) simply are what the king says, or signs, day-to-day.

What “corruption” used to mean, when Europe earlier “enjoyed” such a similar absolutist system, was clear enough: you had got in the king’s way, that is all that “corruption” implied. So, if the outside world thinks that MbS is moving Saudi Arabia towards a Western modernity, then they must mean either that MbS is planning the jettisoning of “the family” (the 15,000 princes of the blood royal), or he’s moving towards some constitutional monarchial set-up, and a rules-based society of citizens, rather than subjects.

Nothing in MbS’ actions suggest that he is moving in that direction. Rather, his actions suggest that he wants to recover and restore the absolutist aspect to the monarchy. And the modernity that he is seeking is of the type that you buy, virtually ready-made, ready to be assembled from its box. In short, the plan is to buy an industrial base, “in a box,” off the shelf, to make up for depleting oil revenues.

Vision 2030 tells us that this well-packaged, high-tech, “industrial base” is supposed to yield $1 trillion’s profit per annum, if all goes well … eventually. That is to say, it is intended as replacement source of income: precisely to support “the family” – and not displace it. It is not therefore “reformist” in the Western notion of modernity being “equality before the law” and of protected rights.

Unrealistic Hopes  

Well, this type of non-organic, high-speed industrialization is not so easy to graft into society (if you are not Josef Stalin). It is expensive and, as history also tells us, is socially and culturally disruptive. It will cost a lot more than the reported $800 billion which MbS hopes to “recover” from his detainees (through physical coercion – some 17 have been already been hospitalized, in consequence of their treatment in detention).

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The difficulty is that some in the family would have opposed such adventurism against Iran. MbS seems to be pursuing a notion similar to that adopted by the neocons: i.e. the Kristolian argument that you can’t make (or restore) a “benevolent hegemony” omelet without breaking a few eggs. And as Miller and Sokolsky noted, Trump “didn’t take much convincing” — MbS’ vision intersected precisely with his own imperatives (and animus towards Iran). Trump duly tweeted his endorsement for the Saudi “corruption” crack-down.But, if it is not to Westernize the economy, why then are so many senior family members needing to be “got out of the way”? This part of the “grand plan” relates perhaps, to the reason why MbS wanted, so much, to “woo and capture” President Trump (as Miller and Solkosky put it). MbS is frank about this: he has been telling President Trump that he wants to restore the kingdom’s former grandeur; to be again the leader of the Sunni world, and the guardian of Islam. And to do that, upstart Iran and the Shi’i revival must be knocked back down into subordination to Saudi leadership.

And here lay the third leg to the “grand plan”: Israel would be “the stick” for the Saudi-UAE-U.S. alliance against Iran (Hezbollah was to be to be its peg for action). Saudi Arabia then, in return, would move to recognize the Jewish State, and Israel would give the Palestinians “something”: a “something” that might be called a state, even if it was much less than a state. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia would co-ordinate in pressuring the Palestinians to accept the U.S. proposals for a “settlement.”

Why did it go so wrong? Exaggerated expectations of that which each other party could realistically implement. Believing each other’s rhetoric. America’s love affair with Saudi royalty. Kushner’s family ties to Netanyahu. Wishful thinking on the part of Kushner and Trump that MbS could be the instrument to restore not just the Saudi kingdom as America’s “policeman” in the Islamic world, but even the American-led order in the Middle East, too.

Maybe Jared Kushner believed Bibi Netanyahu when he hinted that “normalization” of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would witness reciprocation in Israeli concessions to the Palestinians (when in fact, the Israeli security cabinet has already vetoed the concessions – well short of a state – that were being discussed in this connection)?

Maybe Jared believed MbS when he suggested that he could mobilize the Sunni world against Iran – if America and Israel backed him (when even Egypt opposed destabilizing Lebanon)?

Maybe MbS believed that Trump spoke for America when he offered to support him (when in fact, he spoke only for the White House)?

Maybe MbS thought that Trump would rally Europe against Hezbollah in Lebanon (in fact, the Europeans have prioritized Lebanese stability)?

And, maybe MbS and Kushner thought Netanyahu spoke for Israel when he promised to be a partner in the front against Hezbollah and Iran? Was it the “grand plan” that was affirmed between Netanyahu and Trump on the day before the latter launched his United Nations broadside at Iran in September? When in fact, while any Israeli Prime Minister can wage war against the Palestinians with a relatively free hand, the same is not true where the state of Israel itself is being put at stake. No Israeli P.M. can commit to a possibly existential conflict (for Israel), without having broad support from the Israeli political and security establishment. And the Israel Establishment will only contemplate war when it is plainly in the Israeli interest, and not merely to please MbS or Mr Trump.

Ben Caspit (and other Israeli commentators) confirm that the Israeli establishment does not see war with Hezbollah, and the risk of a wider conflict, to be in the Israeli interest.

The fallout from this episode is highly significant. It has exposed that Israel presently is deterred from contemplating a war in the region (as Caspit explains). It too has underlined the hollowness of MbS ambitions to mount a “Sunni Alliance” against Iran; and it has undercut President Trump’s containment policy for Iran. For now, at least, we may expect Iran and Russia to consolidate the state in Syria, and to stabilize the northern tier. Caspit’s “war of Armageddon” may yet arrive – but not for now, perhaps.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

Trump’s Pivot to Asia: An Arms Sales Bonanza, An Anti-Peace Trip

Trump’s Pivot to Asia: An Arms Sales Bonanza, An Anti-Peace Trip

President Trump’s 5-country Asia tour has nothing to do with seeking peace anywhere, it has not even to do with diplomacy – it is entirely a warmongering business trip for the Military Industrial Complex. It is amazing that the world doesn’t catch on.

We know about Obama’s several years of pivoting to Asia. It resulted largely in the TPP, the Transpacific Partnership, a trade agreement between 12 countries including the US. The first thing Trump did when he came on board is canceling it, claiming that it would only harm the US. Canceling it, in fact, was a good thing, since contrary to what Trump understands, or claims to understand, of US-made international trade, the Asian partners would have suffered, not the US. There is not one single trade agreement the US has instigated, bilateral or multilateral, where the US came out as a loser, or even as an equal, always a winner. The original meaning of trade is not winning or losing, but it is an exchange of equals with equal benefits for all partners. ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) is perhaps one of the few living examples.

Trump doesn’t like multilateral trade agreements, because – even though he is in control – he may not be in total control. He wants to call the shots, every shot. Literally. This is what this 8-day ‘pivot’ to Asia is all about. It is about selling weapons, ‘the best, the most accurate, the deadliest the world has ever produced. Trump’s words – almost. And repeated over-and-over-and-over again.

At a press conference in Tokyo, with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, Trump said literally, when pointing at Prime Minister Abe,

“[He] will shoot [North Korea’s] missiles out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of equipment from the United States. One very important thing is that Prime Minister Abe is going to be purchasing massive amounts of [US-made] military equipment, as he should. We make the best by far … it’s a lot of jobs for us, and a lot of safety for Japan (The Guardian, 6/11/2017).”

Trump had the audacity, as he always does, calling North Korea (DPRK – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) a “threat to the civilized world”. And this, when he knows – or should know – that Pyongyang is only defending North Korea from the constant threats and aggressions of the United States, that Kim Jong-Un has no intention of attacking any country – but still has the memory deep inside, inherited by generations of North Koreans born after the atrocious Washington initiated 1953 Korean war, that devastated literally the entire country and killed 3 million people, about a third of the then North Korean population.

The entire world knows, including Trump’s predecessors, that the only threat to not only the world’s civilization, but to the entire humanity, are the United States of America – a rogue state, not respecting any international laws, no international contracts – and no human life, not even that of her own citizens. Tens of millions of people around the globe have been killed since the end of WWII directly by the US military, or NATO, or indirectly through proxies or mercenaries by the United States. All for wars that aim at complete world hegemony, at ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ – as described by the PNAC – Plan for a New American Century. Nobody wants to touch this reality – almost nobody. Fortunately, in the last few years there are countries emerging that dare stand up to the killing monster, resisting it, by disobedience, despite ‘sanctions’, and through economic measures, like detaching their economy from the fraudulent fiat dollar. Recent examples are Venezuela and Iran.

Trump’s arms sale’s bonanza started actually already with Saudi Arabia, when he sold King Salman 110 billion worth of the best killer instruments – bombs, planes and tanks – America produces. A record weapon sales-contract.

On the pivot’s second leg, South Korea – Trump trumped up his tone, not at all for peace but to threaten once more Pyongyang and the North Korean leader, the American bully cum President calls derogatorily the ‘Little Rocket Man’. – Where are we in this world? Does this man Trump not see how much he is despised? Or is he so sick to actually enjoy being hated?

More than eighty percent of South Koreans want peace with the Nord. President Moon Jae-in was recently elected on a platform of uniting the South with the North – to bring back together families that were separated for more than half a century. How could he be such a dreamer? With close to 30,000 American soldiers on South Korean soil and a weapons arsenal, including nuclear arms, that could destroy all of east Asia in a jiffy. – And billions worth of more weapons sales to Seoul are on Trump’s murderous sales agenda. He is not only a bully par excellence, but the best salesman the US military industrial complex could wish for – and a booster of the US’s GDP of death and destruction.

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, people standing, suit and indoor

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea | November 7, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The bully at the pulpit had no intention of addressing a road to peace. To the contrary, he boasted about the extraordinary unsurmountable weapons might of “America First” – and using South Koreans Parliament as a platform to launch yet another slandering tirade towards North Korea’s leader, Kim Jon-un, and her people,

 “[I] have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship—the weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in great danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face. North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves. Yet despite every crime you have committed against god and man… we will offer a path towards a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles and complete verifiable and total denuclearization.”

While Emperor Donald was talking, three US Navy aircraft carriers were positioning themselves in attack mode in front of North Korea’s coast, preparing for more intimidating war games. More provocation, knowing damn well that DPRK’s President Kim Jong-un will not let go of his defense strategy – and rightly so. Anyone who knows a bit of North Korea’s history understands. Kim’s several requests for dialogue, as he wants peace for his country and for his people, were rejected by Washington. Instead he was showered with Trump’s outrageous warmongering language like “we will unleash ‘fire and fury’ the world has never seen” – or “we will destroy your country to rubble” – and more of such ridiculous and shameful threats – shameful for the so-called ‘leader’ of the “free world”, of the globe’s self-proclaimed Almighty, and shameful for all the other nations of this globe that just watch and listen to the monster’s angry outbursts – but are afraid to counter him, though they know he is wrong.

According to Reuters, Han Tae Song, Ambassador of the DPRK to the United Nations in Geneva, told on Wednesday the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women,

“The United States and other hostile forces impede the enjoyment by our people of their human rights in every possible way, resorting to the vicious ways and means of all kinds in their attempt to stifle the ideas and system of the DPRK,”

He continued saying that Washington “manipulated” sanctions resolutions against his country at the U.N. Security Council that violated North Korean sovereignty and rights to existence and development.

“Due to these inhumane economic sanctions, vulnerable peoples like women and children are becoming…victims. Such sanctions against humanity which block even the delivery of the medical equipment and medicines for maternal and child health and the basic goods for daily life…..threaten the protection and promotion of our women’s rights and even the right to survival of the children.”

Next stop on Trump’s ‘pivot’ was Beijing, where, to the surprise of most media, he behaved like a statesman, trying to persuade President Xi of the benefits of a friendly US-Sino relation – and of course, of the importance that China adhere to the UN imposed sanctions on North Korea. The South China Sea, Human Rights and China’s alleged lack of Democracy – the usual Washington swan song – were not mentioned. Even the Chinese media hailed Trump’s visit as a success. The two leaders signed contracts for some 250 billion dollars-worth of investment and trade deals, or rather, as per Bloomberg, “non-binding memoranda of understanding”, between the two countries.

The deals, many of which were already concluded or planned before the Beijing meeting, included goods and services in transportation (Chinese purchase of 300 Boeing civilian aircraft), agriculture (pork and beef), IT, the financial sector (with Goldman Sachs – who else?) – and more. Nothing controversial. Trump expects to be appreciated at home for his salesmanship in Beijing – and for helping reducing the 250 billion US trade deficit with China.

Interestingly though, during the perhaps strategically most important stop of his Asia journey – Beijing – Trump did not use his usual vitriolic language to condemn and threaten Pyongyang and putting Xi on guard to follow the strict sanctions regime against the DPRK – or else. Why didn’t he? – Did he realize that it was worthless? That China would never let her neighbor die – and he would make himself ridiculous making believe his sanctions threat would work on China? – Or did he have a deeper agenda, like winning China over – or neutralizing her – for a possible future strike on Iran? – Of course, if carried out, then by proxies like the armed-to-the-teeth with US and UK weaponry Saudis and Israel? – Time will tell. But there is no doubt that the clear winner of this meeting was President Xi – with his calm manner and Tao philosophy of smiling and non-aggression.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, crowd, wedding, flower and outdoor

President Donald J. Trump and President Xi of China | November 8, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On his last stop in Da Nang, Vietnam, Trump attended the APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit (10-11 November), where he was expected to meet with President Putin, even briefly at the margin of the meetings. However, no official meeting was scheduled and as RT reports,

Hopes of a bilateral Putin-Trump meeting on the sidelines of the APEC summit have waned with the White House citing “scheduling conflicts,” but at least the two were all smiles while shaking hands during the photo call.”

Well, why would President Putin want to meet with Trump, who after a meeting with seemingly positive chemistry, in Hamburg in July 2017, at the G20 summit, has been nothing but deceptive? Why faking more trust in a flamboyant billionaire bully, who has no ethics, who doesn’t honor contracts, promises, multilateral agreements or even international law – and allows his government to keep slandering Russia for ‘interfering’ in the 2016 US Presidential Elections?

The truth is, Trump, his predecessors, the UK leadership, the NATO allies, the Saudis, Gulf States and the EU puppets are shameless, ‘legalized’ murderers. – Legalized, because they dance to the tune of Trump’s canons, or to the dark deep state’s strings that pull the triggers of mayhem and death. For these people – are they still to be called people? – Trump has accomplished what he set out to do: Selling hundreds of billions worth of arms. In less than a year of his Presidency, he did more good to the military-security industrial complex than Obama did in his last four years in office.

Arms are made to kill and destroy. Killing and destroying is contributing big-time to the US GDP; in fact, this industrial octopus with all its associated tentacles – finance, IT, research, sub-contracting, mercenary funding abroad and within the US, spying and surveillance the world over – amount to more than half of the US total economic output. The United States of America lives off an economy of war, an economy of destruction and death.

Take Yemen. Since March 2015, the US and UK backed and armed Saudis have bombed Yemen to ruins, destroying schools, hospitals, roads, ports – vital infrastructure for any civilization. In addition to hospitals and schools, they targeted specifically water and sanitation systems to cause utmost harm to civilian populations. As a result, cholera cases are estimated at 500,000-plus, mostly children and women and elderly (UNICEF), the worst in recorded history. Many die, because the Saudis, again backed by the US and the UK, have banned import and distribution of essential drugs.

Rubble from airstrikes in Yemen (Source: FAIR)

With major ports closed – also by the Saudis, the US and the UK, Yemen is facing one of the worst famine the world has ever seen in recent history. Daily Saudi shelling with US planes and UK bombs, has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, women and children – some estimates range from 60,000 to 80,000. Nobody really keeps count. Yemen has been (kept) poor before. And now, who cares. Yemen already today is the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. And there is no end in sight.

Since the US / UK backed Saudi attacks began some 20 months ago, UK arms sales have increased 50 times. Yet a case filed with the International Court of Justice (ICC) by UK citizens against ‘illegal’ weapons sales, was dismissed by the court, as it could not find anything illegal with these weapon deliveries. That only shows, ICC’s worthlessness, as it is totally controlled by the Zion-Anglo-Saxon hegemon.

What might be more effective than ICC in stopping the boundless assassination raids, is chaining up Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Theresa May and David Cameron, and parachuting them onto Hudaydah, one of Yemen’s hardest hit towns, in the west of the country. Let them see and feel and smell the pain, death and desperation of the survivors. Would it light up the remnants of their spark of ethics and moral they may still have left from birth?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Featured image is from teleSUR.

Hollywood Sex Scandals Go Back To Its Jewish Founding Fathers

Source Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein, the politically connected and influential Jewish Hollywood mogul.

On October 5, The New York Times – a publication owned and operated by wealthy Jews for virtually its entire existence – published a lengthy article detailing the sexually perverse and predatory nature of Jewish Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein’s disgusting and debasing sexual advances on women have been well known in Hollywood circles for decades, and his perverted, twisted exploits were even joked about in various media forums and in comments made by numerous celebrities and actors.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/763d1656-aec0-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22

Since the Times published its revealing expose of Weinstein, numerous high profile celebrities, actors, journalists, and other media and Hollywood figures – the vast majority of whom are Jewish – have been accused of similar sexual misconduct and abuse. Those accused or outright implicated in such disgusting and perverse behavior include the Jewish actors Jeremy Piven, Dustin Hoffman, and Jeffrey Tambor; the Jewish “comedian” Louise C.K.; the Jewish filmmakers Brett Ratner and Matthew Weiner; and the Jewish journalists Mark Halperin and Leon Wieseltier, among many other high profile celebrities and Hollywood insiders.

Hollywood has always been a Jewish owned industry, from its very inception. And it’s always been a haven for sexual degeneracy, perversion, debauchery, and abuse. Sadly, even pedophilia is rampant in Jewish owned Hollywood, as outlined here by Jewish actor Corey Feldman:

These facts were recently laid out in an informative article published by The Times of Israel, an article which demonstrates the long history of sexual perversion and debauchery that is widespread in Jewish run Hollywood. The article focuses primarily on Jack Warner, one of four Warner brothers who founded the iconic Warner Bros. Studios in the Los Angeles area. The article – published by an explicitly Jewish news outlet, mind you – openly acknowledges the fact that Hollywood is and has always been a Jewish run industry from its very founding. The entire piece is well worth reading.

Jewish Perversion in Hollywood

Decades ago, Warner Bros. studio mesmerized moviegoers with films such as “The Jazz Singer” and “Casablanca” — some of the most popular hits of cinema’s golden age.

Now, the four Jewish-American brothers who founded that studio — Jack, Harry, Sam and Albert — are the marquee attractions of a new book: “Warner Bros: The Making of An American Movie Studio,” by film critic and historian David Thomson.

It’s part of Yale University Press’ Jewish Lives series, and the protagonist is studio head Jack Warner — a walking paradigm of Hollywood success and scandal.

Warner is “maybe the biggest scumbag ever to get into a Jewish Lives series,” writes Thomson. But when Yale suggested Thomson take up the Warner Bros. for the series, the acclaimed author of 20 books was intrigued. It hadn’t occurred to him to write about a corporation, he told The Times of Israel.

He said, “certain corporations that were absolutely vital in the history of movies were largely or almost entirely Jewish. … I was always very interested in the way in which Jewish culture had so much to do with the foundation of movies.”

“The most important factor of all is that I really felt, for me personally, Warner Bros. was the great studio,” he said.

The family’s original name was either Wonsal or Wonskolasor. Of the four brothers, the older three — Harry, Albert and Sam — “were all born in what was either Poland or Russia depending on the frontiers at the time,” Thomson said.

In the late 19th century, their father, Benjamin, immigrated to the US and changed his last name to Warner. His sons Moses, Aaron and Shmuel became, respectively, Harry, Albert and Sam.

“I think, back in Europe, they had a hard time,” Thomson said. “They were not nearly as poor as some, but they were not well-off. Because they were Jewish, I think they were subjects of a great deal of hostility.”

As the family moved across North America, they lived in Canada, where in 1892, a baby boy named Jacob was born; he would become Jack.

They relocated to Youngstown, Ohio, trying their hands at various career paths including operating a bowling alley.

One night in 1903 or 1904, Sam Warner suggested something different: As his brothers sampled their mother Pearl’s potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream, he used a recent technological phenomenon — a movie projector — to show a 1903 film, “The Great Train Robbery,” on a sheet pinned to the wall.

“If Sam had not really urged it upon them, they might have done something else altogether,” Thomson reflected.

Follow the celluloid road

Moviemaking in that era was a path well-traveled by Jewish Americans, according to Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive and a professor of critical and media studies.

“Almost all of them were immigrants from the shtetl, Jewish, from Russia or Eastern Europe,” Horak said. “Louis B. Mayer, Fox, Samuel Goldwyn, whose real name was Goldfish.”

“[At] the beginning of the 20th century in this country, there was still a lot of anti-Semitism,” Horak explained. “Certain professions, they were maybe not legally banned from, but it was extremely difficult to get into. At the beginning of the 20th century, what you had was the creation of, the invention of, motion pictures. A lot of Jewish immigrants saw this as a way to get into something in which there was no competition.”

However, they faced anti-Semitism from first-generation film producers such as Thomas Edison, Horak said. “In the period to 1912, there were a lot of anti-Semitic statements that ‘these Jewish pushcart peddlers are taking over the film business, destroying the morals of our youth, etc., etc.’ — from the right wing, of course,” he said.

But circa 1915-1917, Jews moved into production “and pretty much invented Hollywood,” he said — referencing film critic Neal Gabler’s 1988 book “An Empire Of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood.”

“He was the first to write about it,” Horak said. “Up to that time, it had been a taboo subject — that someone thinking about it would say that it would be anti-Semitic. In 1912, it happened that most of the producers themselves … did not make films with Jewish themes. [They wanted to] appear completely American. So much of America, in the heartland especially, was anti-Semitic. They did not emphasize the fact they were Jewish.” […]

Incredible information – “anti-Semitic” information – coming directly from a Jewish source. It’s amazing what the Jews themselves say and publish, and then call people like me and others who expose the reality of Jewish power and influence in our society delusional, paranoid “anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists” for simply pointing it out.

The article concludes by highlighting the scandalous and licentious behavior of Jack Warner, which was common in Hollywood at the time (as well as today!).

Jack Warner himself died in 1978. He left a legacy of professional achievement and personal scandal, divorcing his first wife, having a daughter with the woman who became his second wife, and alienating his son Jack Jr.

His era is associated with unsavory images of power-hungry studio heads and the casting couch — which have reappeared with Weinstein.

“The womanizing habits coming out that Harvey was prone to have a long history in the film business,” Thomson said. “Attitudes change. We’re shocked now.”

“Once upon a time,” he said, “the general feeling was that women going into the movies to get a job as an actress … should not be surprised if they were propositioned, if they had to do pretty nasty things to get ahead. It happened across the whole film business. It’s regrettable.”

Horak said that “Louis B. Mayer was known as an unbelievable satyr, the Harvey Weinstein of back then. Harvey Weinstein was doing it at a time when you couldn’t do it any more. You had the women’s movement in the late 1960s, early 1970s. […]

As Dr. Kevin MacDonald and other writers at The Occidental Observer have pointed out recently, Jews have a strong proclivity to engage in degrading, abusive, and perverse sexual behavior towards White Christian gentiles largely as a result of their entirely distorted and largely false historical narrative of “oppression” and “genocide” at the hands of the goyim.

Powerful Jews like Weinstein are motivated primarily by revenge and a desire to dominate and debase their non-Jewish racial enemies. Thankfully, this information is coming to light in a major way, especially in the wake of the Times article detailing Weinstein’s disgusting and truly shameful behavior. Jewish run Hollywood – and the entire (((mass media complex))), for that matter – needs to be exposed as the corrupt, degenerate, truly evil institution it is in the hands of vengeful, disgusting Jews.

Putin says claims of Russian intervention in US presidential election mere ‘fantasies’

Source

Press TV – November 11, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again strongly rejected claims that Moscow interfered in the 2016 US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, saying these allegations are mere “fantasies.”

The Russian leader made the remarks at a news briefing on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang on Saturday, less than a year after US intelligence agencies made the allegations against the Kremlin, which has since vehemently denied the charges.

“Everything about the so-called Russian dossier in the US is a manifestation of continuing domestic political struggle,” Putin told reporters at the Asia-Pacific summit in the Southeast Asian country, adding that he was well “aware” of the increasing probe regarding contacts between Trump’s team members and Russians, including a woman who has claimed to be Putin’s niece.

“Regarding some sort of connections of my relatives with members of the administration or some officials, I only found out about that yesterday from (spokesman Dmitry) Peskov,” the Russian president further said, asserting that he does not know anything about it. “I think these are some sort of fantasies,” Putin added.

Back in January, American intelligence agencies claimed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to try to help Trump, the current president of the United States, defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. They alleged at the time that Moscow’s interference included a campaign of hacking and releasing embarrassing emails, and disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit Clinton’s campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed by the US Justice Department, is tasked with investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the election.

Trump, for his part, has long denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives during last year’s White House race, which led to his rival Hillary Clinton’s loss.

On Saturday, after briefly meeting with Putin at the summit, Trump said that the Russian leader felt insulted by persisting allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the US vote.

“You can only ask so many times… he (Putin) said he absolutely did not meddle in our election,” the US president said, adding that Putin was “very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

As he was heading to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, Trump also told reporters that President Putin had personally told him that “he didn’t meddle.”

“He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again,” Trump said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian president vowed that Moscow would adopt “reciprocal” measures in response to US steps against RT America, which he called an “attack on freedom of speech.”

His comments came a day after the US Department of Justice ordered that by Monday, the company that provides all services for RT America in the US has to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), adding that in case of any disobedience, the news channel’s head may be held in police custody and its accounts could be frozen.

The so-called US legislation was passed in 1938 to counter Nazi propaganda on the American soil. More than 400 entities, but no media outlet, are currently registered under the act.

“I want to draw your attention to the fact that there wasn’t and could not be any confirmation of our media’s meddling in the [US] election campaign,” Putin said, adding that the latest probe in US Congress showed that the Russian ads amounted merely to “some tenths or hundredths of a percent” in comparison to those carried by the US media in the course of the 2016 election.

The annual APEC summit is one of the largest gatherings on the annual diplomatic calendar, bringing together scores of world leaders and more than 2,000 CEOs. APEC represents 21 Pacific Rim economies, the equivalent of 60 percent of global GDP and covering nearly three billion people, and has pushed for freer trade since its inception in 1989.

“The enemy within” Dual citizens driving US laws against Palestinians, #BDS, etc

Dual citizens driving US laws against Palestinians, BDS, etc

Dual citizens driving US laws against Palestinians, BDS, etc

Israeli American Council’s “Celebrate Israel Festival” in Miami, Florida. Such festivals were organized across the U.S.

The Israeli American Council is a ten-year-old organization of dual US-Israeli citizens. A year ago it launched a lobbying arm, the Israeli American Coalition for Action, which has been the driving force and partial architect of anti-BDS laws passed in Nevada, California and Texas and is currently advancing similar legislation in Massachusetts.  It also helped promote the “Taylor Force Act” and other bills for Israel.

New York Jewish Week and Moment magazine describe the actions of the Israeli-American Council  (IAC) and its new lobbying arm, Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action).

A recent article in New York Jewish Week by Orly Santo reports that ten years ago “in a feat of organizational prowess (and hubris?) — and fueled with tens of millions of dollars from megadonors — the Israeli-American Council (IAC) shaped the scattering of 500,000-to-700,000 Israeli expats into a coherent entity.”

The goal of the organization is to “strengthen Israeli-Americans, American Jews and Israel.” It now claims 250,000 participants with an annual budget of $17.5 million. The group gets the bullk of its money from Las Vegas casino billionaire and major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson. 

In February 2016 IAC launched a 501(c)(4) lobbying arm called the “Israeli American Coalition for Action” (IAC For Action). The excerpt below from Jewish Week describes how IAC Action has helped to craft legislation against boycotting Israel, against alleged “antisemitism,” and against Palestinians.

Below that article is a report from Moment magazine that describes the specifics of how IAC obtained legislation against BDS. (Photos and videos of IAC have been added to the articles.)

US Senator Chuck Schumer (who says he is a “guardian for Israel”) and others speak at the IAC conference.

Excerpted from “Israeli-Americans Now Have A Voice — Are They All On Key?”

by Orly Santo, New York Jewish Week

In the 21 months of its existence, the Israeli American Coalition for Action has weighed in on a range of state and federal issues, with varying degrees of success. It has advanced mom-and-apple-pie resolutions, such as pushing a House resolution honoring Israeli-American heritage and an initiative to teach Hebrew in public schools.

But it has also tackled trickier legislation. For instance, IAC for Action was the driving force and partial architect of the anti-BDS laws passed in Nevada, California and Texas. It’s currently advancing similar legislation in Massachusetts, and working alongside these state governments on creating watchdog organizations that would help enforce anti-BDS laws. (Some of the anti-BDS laws around the country are now being challenged on free speech grounds.)

The group has advocated for a House bill that would combat European anti-Semitism [for information on this go here] and supports the Israeli Anti-Boycott Act, legislation that recently lost its bipartisan support in the House and Senate after the ACLU denounced it as a First Amendment infringement.

Taylor Force Act

Arguably, IAC for Action’s most significant legislative push has been on the high-profile Taylor Force Act bill, named for the 28-year-old American who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa in March 2016; it was among the first pro-Israel lobbies to aggressively campaign for the legislation.

Considered one of the most important pro-Israel initiatives of the early Trump administration, the bill would condition the majority of U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the PA shutting down its “Martyr’s Fund,” a program that pays stipends to convicted terrorists [sic] and their families. Introduced by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dan Coates of Indiana and Roy Blount of Missouri, the bill initially lacked necessary bipartisan credentials; some Democrats believed the bill was drawn too broadly and that other kinds of American aid to the PA, such as money for humanitarian programs, would be cut off as a result. Out of concern for Israel’s security or out of partisan concerns, AIPAC and the major Jewish advocacy groups steered clear [initially].

[Read the specifics of the Taylor Force Act and of its context here.]

According to Shawn Evenhaim, IAC for Action’s chairman, Graham’s office approached the group for help in breaking the gridlock; in response, the lobby pulled together IAC’s two original megadonors — Adelson and billionaire businessman and Democrat Haim Saban — to campaign for the bill. (Saban eventually broke with IAC, reportedly due to sensitivities surrounding the U.S. presidential election, in which Saban supported Hillary Clinton and Adelson backed Donald Trump.)

(L-R): Republican billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson, IAC National Chairman Shawn Evenhaim, and Democratic billionaire donorHaim Saban at the Israeli American Council in Washington DC. Nov. 10, 2014.

It’s unclear how effective the campaign was; Graham’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and Noah Pollak, a political consultant considered one of the bill’s primary drivers, told The Jewish Week he was unaware of IAC’s role. Still, in reference to their campaign, Nicolet asserted that “we were critical to getting the bipartisan conversation [on the bill] going. … There is a chasm within the Jewish-American community (regarding Israel). That’s exactly where Israeli-Americans can step in and become a living bridge.”

Eventually, the bill was amended to take into consideration the aid questions that had been raised earlier, and the Taylor Force Act now seems poised for passage next month in the full Senate.

“We have the ability to speak for Israel as Americans, but from an Israeli point of view,” Evenhaim said. “This is something new that we are bringing to the pro-Israel camp, something that has always been missing.”

Anti-BDS legislation

California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Anat Berko, and Dillon Hosier discuss anti-BDS legislation at the Israeli American Council’s 2016 conference.

That unique perspective is IAC’s ace in the hole, particularly when it comes to combating BDS, its officials say. “[The BDS movement’s] biggest success is in dehumanizing Israelis,” Dillon Hosier, IAC for Action’s national director of state and local government affairs, told The Jewish Week. Bringing in Israeli-Americans, fellow state residents who are directly impacted by BDS, “restored the human face to that community. … Adding that Israeli-American element was really what turned the tide.”

California’s recently passed anti-BDS law, AB2844, is a case study in IAC for Action’s efforts. The law prohibits the state from contracting with firms that boycott or comply with boycotting Israeli companies, asserting that that would constitute an act of discrimination against Jews and Californians of Israeli descent and their businesses.

According to the bill’s author, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), the Israeli-American voice was key to its passing. “Dillon and the IAC worked very closely with me and my legislative team to assure passage and the governor’s signature on AB2844 … [rallying] IAC members to email, call and provide other advocacy on behalf of the Israeli-American community,” Bloom told The Jewish Week in an email. “Frankly, and quite logically, many legislators do not understand BDS and why it is such an important issue for Israel and Israel’s supporters. The IAC … was singular in its ability to bridge that gap.”

Read full article


Getting Political: The Third Israeli-American Council Conference

By George E. Johnson, Moment, Oct 10, 2016

Facebook image of 2016 IAC national conference.

Reporting from last year’s Israeli-American Council conference, I noted that the Israeli-American Council defied the conventional wisdom that young Jewish adults are not joining Jewish organizations. The more than 1,000 Israeli-Americans at last year’s conference suggested that the in-your face, raw, brash energy of Israelis was being brought into the American Jewish organizational mainstream for the first time. With a mission of better integrating the now more than 500,000 Israeli-Americans into the American Jewish community, the IAC presented itself as a kind of communal “self-help” organization. It focused, for example, on how to keep the children of Israeli-Americans—many of whom are secular—Jewish. With the power and wealth of billionaire Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson solidly behind it, it became clear that the IAC was also trying to act as a human bridge between Israel and American Jews—a kind of “reverse Birthright” mission—strengthening the state of Israel in the process.

But something new was on display this year: the rapidly maturing face of a new grassroots, AIPAC-like, Israeli-American Coalition for Action, an activist IAC political arm that parlays Israeli technological and political savvy into support of pro-Israel politics at the state and local levels. While still addressing the integration of Israeli-Americans into American Jewish life and deepening American Jews’ connection with Israel, this year’s conference, held in Washington, DC on September 24-26, and attended by over 2,000, gave center stage to the Coalition for Action’s step-by-step construction of alliances with local political and religious groups and use of social media to build support for pro-Israel actions—with a particular focus on opposing the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

IAC brought in Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren to moderate a panel of former Israeli ambassadors to the U.S.

During the past year, there have been numerous reports that Adelson was assembling a task force to mobilize against the BDS movement. The fruits of that mobilization were clearly on display last week. At the opening of the conference, it was announced that California governor Jerry Brown had just signed AB-2844 into law, prohibiting the state of California from doing business with agencies or businesses that participate in BDS activities.

Back story of California’s anti-BDS legislation

California Governor Jerry Brown with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Brown signed Assembly anti-BDS Bill 2844 in September 2016. The State Senate approved the bill by a vote of 34 to 1 , and the State Assembly passed it by 69 to 1 on August 30.

However, the backstory of how the IAC was able to make this happen was told not in the plenary, but in two revealing panel discussions on coalition building and innovative use of social media. In one session, attended by the author of the California bill, Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom, as well as Adelson himself, panelists, including two city mayors, explained how meeting with strategically important legislators, planning Israel trips that highlight the multicultural aspects of Israeli life, supporting the interests of politically important groups, and building “common ground” with, for example, the LGBT community in West Hollywood, could pay off in political allies and support for anti-BDS initiatives.

The second panel focused on methods and messages for countering BDS activism on college campuses, as well as in government and local communities. Here the focus was on the power of social media. One panelist showed an animation showing members of Students for Justice for Palestine disrupting a lecture at the University of Minnesota by pulling the microphone cord. Another, the founder of the startup Phone2Action, showed members of the audience how to text their home state legislators in real time to support anti-BDS legislation just by texting “Israel” and a number on their iPhones.

A separate session, which I did not attend, focused on coalition building with other ethnic groups. Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, discussed the release of an open letter, signed by 10 prominent American Muslim political and religious leaders, including the two Muslim members of Congress, which calls on Hamas to release the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014 in Gaza.

The IAC is still a start-up, opening chapters around the country, with a base one-tenth of AIPAC, and this was only its third national conference. But it has money, a strategy and strong leadership that are helping it to punch far beyond its weight. One has the feeling that the Jewish world has yet to digest the potential impact on American Jewish life and American politics of this young and largely unstudied group.

IAC workshop on how to defeat BDS:

 

How U.S.-Saudi Marriage Gave Birth to Jihad

How U.S.-Saudi Marriage Gave Birth to Jihad

Attempts to use Wahhabism to our advantage ultimately proved disastrous

Vice President Dick Cheney walks with newly crowned King Abdullah, former President George H.W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a retreat at King Abdullah’s Farm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia August 5, 2005, following the death of Abdullah’s half-brother King Fahd August 1, 2005. White House photo by David Bohrer

Chatting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November 2016, Barack Obama mentioned Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood back in the 1960s. The country, he noted, was a changed place. Where Muslims once adopted elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and animism, a more austere version of Islam had taken hold once Saudi Arabia began pouring money into Wahhabist madrassas in the 1990s. Where women had formerly gone about with their heads uncovered, the hijab began to spread.

 

But why, Turnbull wanted to know, was this happening? “Aren’t the Saudis your friends?” To which Obama replied, “It’s complicated.”

That c-word covers a lot of territory, not only with regard to Wahhabism, the ultra-fundamentalist Saudi ideology whose impact is now felt across the globe, but also with regard to the United States, the Saudis’ chief patron, protector—and enabler—since World War II. Like any imperialist power, the United States can be a bit unscrupulous in the partners it chooses. So one might expect it to look the other way when its Saudi friends spread their militant doctrines into Indonesia, the Philippines, the Indian subcontinent, Syria, and numerous points beyond.

But Washington did more than just look away. It actively encouraged such activities by partnering with the Wahhabists in any number of hotspots. They include Afghanistan, where American- and Saudi-armed jihadis drove out the Soviets in the 1980s. They also include Bosnia, where the two countries reportedly teamed up in the mid-1990s to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms into Alija Izetbegović’s Islamic republic, today a stronghold of Wahhabist Salafism. Other notable examples: Kosovo, where the United States joined forces with “Afghan Arabs” and other Saudi-backed jihadis in support of the secessionist movement of Hashim Thaçi; Chechnya, where leading neocons such as Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Midge Decter, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, and R. James Woolsey championed Saudi-backed Islamist rebels; Libya, where Hillary Clinton personally recruited Qatar to join the effort against Muammar Qaddafi and then said nothing as the Wahhabist kingdom funneled some $400 million to rebel groups, many of them Islamists who proceeded to turn the country upside down; and of course Syria, where Sunni head-choppers backed by the Saudis and other oil monarchies have turned the country into a charnel house.

The United States pronounces itself shocked—shocked!—at the results, while pocketing the winnings. This is evident from a famous 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, as Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, did as much as anyone to invent the modern phenomenon of jihad. Asked if he had any regrets, Brzezinski was unabashed:

Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap, and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war….What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?

Or, as Graham Fuller, former deputy director of the CIA’s National Council on Intelligence and later a RAND Corporation analyst, put it a year later:

The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.

What could possibly go wrong? Less a specifically Saudi phenomenon, the great Wahhabist offensive of the last 30 or 40 years is best understood as a joint venture between oil imperialism and neo-medieval Islamic revivalism. On its own, such an austere doctrine would never have made it out of the badlands of central Arabia. Only in conjunction with outside powers, first Britain and then the United States, did it turn into a world-altering force.

Still, a bit of pre-history might be helpful. In order to know how Wahhabism arose, it’s necessary to know where it arose. This is Nejd, a vast plateau in central Arabia that is nearly the size of France. Ringed on three sides by desert and on the fourth by the somewhat more fertile Red Sea province of the Hejaz, it was one of the most isolated and barren spots on earth until oil was discovered in the 1930s. Less isolated now, it remains extremely barren. The English explorer Lady Anne Blunt described it in 1881 as consisting of “vast uplands of gravel, as nearly destitute of vegetation as any in the world,” dotted with occasional settlements that were nearly as cut off from one another as they were from the outside world. It was one of the few third-world countries still uncolonized by the 19th century, not because it was unusually strong or well organized but because it was too poor, wild, and inaccessible to be worth the effort.

It was a land that no one else wanted. It also was home to an ideology that no one else wanted. This was Hanbalism, the most severe and unforgiving of the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence. It arose in Baghdad in the 9th century and within a few decades was wreaking havoc as adherents plundered homes to confiscate liquor, musical instruments, and other forbidden items; raided shops; and challenged men and women walking together in the street. Expelled from the metropolis, Hanbalis found themselves relegated to the most primitive and distant outposts, Nejd most notably. But then, in the mid-18th century, they found themselves under attack by a wandering preacher named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, for whom Hanbalism was not severe enough.

Moving from village to village, “the Luther of Mahometanism,” as Lady Blunt described him, denounced such folk practices as worshiping at saints’ graves and praying at sacred trees. Theologically, Wahhab’s great contribution was to take the concept of shirk, or association, which traditionally referred to the worship of any deity in conjunction with Allah, and expand it to include anything that distracted from the single-minded focus on the one true god. Seeking the intervention of a saint, wearing a good-luck charm, even adorning the interior of a mosque—all were shirk. The goal was a religion as bare as the landscape, one that allowed nothing to come between man and God.

Presumably, Wahhab was not the first mullah to inveigh against superstition. But what distinguished him was his energy, his fanaticism—he made a name for himself by ordering the stoning of an accused adulteress—and an alliance he made in 1744 with a tribal leader named Muhammad bin Saud. In exchange for military backing, al-Wahhab provided bin Saud with the legal writ to rob, kill, or enslave anyone who refused to bow down to the new doctrine. Backed by fanatical Bedouins known as the Ikhwan, or Brotherhood, Saud and his sons set about conquering the desert interior.

A new dynasty was born. The Saudi-Wahhabi alliance amounted to a “constitution” of sorts in that it laid down basic rules that the new kingdom would have to follow. The al-Saud gained untrammeled economic and political authority. But the clan also acquired the religious obligation to support and defend the Wahhabiyya and struggle against practices that they regarded as un-Islamic. The moment it faltered, its legitimacy would vanish.

This explains both the strength and weakness of the Saudi state. At first glance, Wahhabism would seem to be the most untamable of ideologies since the only submission it recognizes is to God. But after being briefly toppled by the Ottomans in 1818, the al-Saud could only claw their way back by garnering outside support. The regime’s survival therefore hinged on balancing a fierce religious establishment against international forces that, as the dynasty knew too well, were infinitely more powerful than any horde of desert horsemen.

The tidal wave of oil money that washed over the kingdom in the 1970s compounded the problem. Not only did the al-Saud dynasty have to balance off the Wahhabiyya against the United States, but it also had to balance religious austerity off against modern consumerism. In the 1920s, mullahs had raged against foreign travel and telephones. A member of the Ikhwan once even struck a royal servant of the king for riding a bicycle, which the Wahhabists denounced as “Satan’s carriages.” But now the mullahs had to contend with Rolls Royces, Land Rovers, shopping malls, cinemas, female newscasters, and, of course, the growing ubiquity of sex.

What was to be done? The answer became clear in 1979, when three epochal events occurred. In January, the shah of Iran fled by plane to Egypt, paving the way for Ayatollah Khomeini’s triumphant return to Tehran two weeks later. In July, Jimmy Carter authorized the CIA to begin arming the Afghan mujahideen, prompting the Soviet Union to intervene several months later in support of the embattled left-wing government in Kabul. And in November, Wahhabist militants seized control of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, holding it for two weeks before being dislodged by French commandos.

The last was particularly shocking because it was quickly apparent that the militants enjoyed widespread clerical support. Juhayman al-Otaybi, leader of the assault, was a member of a prominent Ikhwan family and had studied under the grand mufti, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz. While the Wahhabists condemned the takeover, their language, according to the journalist Robert Lacey, “was curiously restrained.” Support for the royal family was beginning to waver.

Plainly, the Saudi royal family needed to mend relations with the Wahhabiyya while burnishing its Islamic credentials in order to fend off criticism at home and abroad. It had to reinvent itself as an Islamic state no less militant than the Persian one across the Persian Gulf. But the burgeoning conflict in Afghanistan suggested a way out. While the United States could funnel aid to anti-Soviet forces, it obviously could not organize a proper jihad on its own. For that, it needed the help of the Saudis, which the kingdom now hastened to provide.

Out went the multiplexes and female news presenters, and in came the religious police and 75 percent discounts on Saudi Arabian Airlines for holy warriors traveling to Afghanistan by way of Peshawar, Pakistan. Thousands of bored and restless young men who might have caused trouble for the kingdom were shipped off to a distant land to make trouble for someone else. Saudi princes could still party as if there were no tomorrow, but now they had to do so abroad or behind closed doors at home. The homeland would otherwise have to remain pure and unsullied.

It was a neat solution, but it still left a few strings untied. One was the problem of blowback in the form of hardened jihadis returning from Afghanistan more determined than ever to battle corruption at home. “I have more than 40,000 mujahideen in the land of the two holy mosques alone,” Osama bin Laden reportedly told a colleague. It was a claim that could not be entirely laughed off once al Qaeda bombs starting going off in the kingdom beginning in 1995. Another problem concerned whom the militants targeted abroad, a problem that initially didn’t loom very large but would eventually prove highly significant.

Still, the new partnership worked brilliantly for a time. It helped the al-Saud regime mollify the ulema, as the mullahs are collectively known, which had come to see the umma, or community of the faithful, as besieged on multiple fronts. As Muhammad Ali Harakan, secretary-general of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim World League, put it as early as 1980:

Jihad is the key to Muslims’ success and felicity, especially when their sacred shrines are under Zionist occupation in Palestine, when millions of Muslims are suffering suppression, oppression, injustices, torture, and even facing death and extermination campaigns in Burma, Philippines, Patani [a predominantly Muslim region of Thailand], USSR, Cambodia, Vietnam, Cyprus, Afghanistan, etc. This responsibility becomes even more binding and pressing when we consider the malicious campaigns being waged against Islam and Muslims by Zionism, Communism, Free Masonry, Qadianism [i.e. Ahmadi Islam], Bahaism, and Christian Missionaries.

The Wahhabiyya would overlook the princes’ many sins if they used their newfound wealth to defend the faith.

The arrangement also worked for the United States, which acquired a useful diplomatic partner and an auxiliary military force that was cheap, effective, and deniable. It worked for gung-ho journalists traipsing through the wilds of Afghanistan, who assured the folks back home that the “muj” were nothing more than “ornery mountain folk who have not cottoned to a foreign power that has seized their land, killed their people, and attacked their faith,” to quote William McGurn, who went on to prominence as a speechwriter for George W. Bush.

It worked for nearly everyone until 19 hijackers, 15 of them Saudis, flew a pair of fuel-laden jetliners into the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000 people in all. The 9/11 attacks should have been a wake-up call that something had gone seriously amiss. But instead of pressing the pause button, the United States opted to double down on the same old strategy. From its perspective, it had little choice. It needed Saudi oil; it needed security in the Persian Gulf, global commerce’s most important chokepoint; and it needed a reliable ally in the Muslim world in general. Moreover, the Saudi royal family was clearly in trouble. Al Qaeda enjoyed wide public support. Indeed a Saudi intelligence survey reportedly found that 95 percent of educated Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41 had “sympathies” for bin Laden’s cause. If the Bush administration had walked off in a huff, the House of Saud would have become more vulnerable to al Qaeda rather than less.

Consequently, Washington opted to work on the marriage rather than splitting up. This entailed three things. First, there was a need to cover up Riyadh’s considerable role in the destruction of the Twin Towers by, among other things, suppressing a crucial 29-page chapter in a joint congressional report dealing with Saudi links to the hijackers. Second, the Bush administration redoubled efforts to pin the blame on Saddam Hussein, Washington’s latest villain du jour. Need “best info fast,” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered while the towers were still burning, according to notes taken by his aide Stephen Cambone. “…Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. at same time—not only UBL [i.e. Usama bin Laden]. Hard to get a good case. Need to move swiftly—Near term target needs—Go massive—sweep it all up, need to do so to get anything useful. Things related or not.” Washington needed a fall guy to get the Saudis off the hook.

Third was the need to prosecute the so-called “War on Terror,” which was never about terrorism per se but about terrorism unsanctioned by the United States. The goal was to arrange for jihadis only to strike at targets jointly approved by Washington and Riyadh. This meant, first and foremost, Iran, the Saudis’ bête noire, whose power, ironically, had grown after the U.S. invasion of Iraq had tipped the formerly Sunni-controlled country into the pro-Shi‘ite column. But it also meant Syria, whose president, Bashar al-Assad, is an Alawite, a form of Shi‘ism, and Russia, whose friendliness to both countries left it doubly marked in U.S. and Saudi eyes. Ideologically, it meant taking Wahhabist anger at Western powers such as America, Britain, and France and directing it at Shi‘ism instead. The doors to sectarianism were thus opened.

The “redirection,” as investigative reporter Seymour Hersh termed it in 2007, also worked brilliantly for a time. Hersh described it as the product of four men: Vice President Dick Cheney; neocon Elliott Abrams, at the time deputy national security adviser for “global democracy strategy”; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad; and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, for 22 years the Saudi ambassador to the United States and now the kingdom’s chief of national security. In Lebanon the goal was to work closely with the Saudi-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to limit the influence of the pro-Iranian Shi‘ite militia Hezbollah, while in Iraq it entailed working more closely with Sunni and Kurdish forces to rein in Shi‘ite influence. In Syria, it meant working with the Saudis to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni group locked in a ferocious struggle with the Baathist government in Damascus since the 1960s. Indeed a secret 2006 State Department memo made public by Wikileaks discussed plans to encourage Sunni fears of growing Shi‘ite influence even though it conceded that such concerns were “often exaggerated.”

The “redirection” program soon imploded. The problem began in Libya, where Hillary Clinton spent much of March 2011 persuading Qatar to join the effort against strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani eventually agreed and took the opportunity to funnel some $400 million to rebel groups, many of them Sunni Salafists who proceeded to turn the country upside down. The result was anarchy, yet the Obama administration stayed mum for years after. In Syria, the Defense Intelligence Agency determined in August 2012 that “events are taking a clear sectarian direction”; that Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al Qaeda “are the major forces driving the insurgency”; and that, despite this fundamentalist surge, the West, Turkey, and the Gulf states still backed the anti-Assad uprising. “If the situation unravels,” the report went on, “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria … 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….” Eastern Syria, of course, became part of the Caliphate declared by ISIS—the recipient of “clandestine financial and logistic support” from both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to no less an authority than Hillary Clinton—in June 2014.

The war on terror turned out to be the longest route possible between Sunni terrorism and Sunni terrorism. Once again, the United States had tried to use Wahhabism to its own advantage, but with consequences that proved nothing less than disastrous.

What went wrong? The problem is two-fold. Wahhabism is an ideology of Bedouin zealots who may be adept at conquering their fellow tribesmen but who are incapable of governing a modern state. This is nothing new. It’s a problem discussed by Ibn Khaldun, the famous North African polymath, in the 14th century and by Friedrich Engels, Marx’s collaborator, in the late 19th, but the bottom line is an endlessly repetitive cycle in which nomadic fanatics rise up, overthrow a regime that has grown soft and corrupt, only to grow soft and corrupt themselves before succumbing to yet another wave of desert warriors. The result is anarchy piled on top of anarchy.

The other problem involves U.S. imperialism, which, in contrast to the French and British varieties, eschews the direct administration of colonial possessions for the most part and instead seeks to leverage U.S. power via innumerable alliances with local forces. Unfortunately, leverage works the same way in diplomacy as in finance—i.e., as a multiplier of both gains and losses. As part of its alliance with the Saudis, the United States encouraged the growth not only of jihad but of Wahhabism in general. It seemed like a good idea when the Saudis established the Muslim World League in Mecca in 1962 as a counter to Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. So how could Washington object when the kingdom vastly expanded its missionary effort in 1979, spending anywhere from $75 billion to $100 billion to spread the word? King Fahd, who ruled from 1982 to 2005, bragged about all the religious and educational facilities he built in non-Muslim lands—200 Islamic colleges, 210 Islamic centers, 1,500 mosques, 2,000 schools for Muslim children, etc. Since the aim was to combat Soviet influence and promote a conservative view of Islam, U.S. fortunes received an immense boost.

It seemed like a good idea for some 15 to 20 years. Then bombs started going off, the 9/11 attacks rocked America, the United States rushed into the restless Middle East, and radical Saudi Wahhabism metastasized beyond its spawning ground. U.S. fortunes haven’t been the same since.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique, and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and Consortium News.

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