US Commission: Saudi Arabia Is Top Violator of Religious Freedom

By Staff, MEE

The US State Department designated Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s “worst violators” of religious freedoms, even as Riyadh remains one of Washington’s top allies in the region.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom [USCIRF] released its 2019 report on Monday listing Saudi Arabia in the tier one category of countries that implement severe violations of religious freedom.

The annual report, released by the bipartisan organization created two decades ago, highlights the discrimination that Shia Muslims and Christians face in the country.

“Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia continue to face discrimination in education, employment, and the judiciary, and lack access to senior positions in the government and military,” the 234-page report said.

“As a matter of law, the Saudi government bans the public practice of non-Muslim faiths by citizens and expatriates alike. While the Saudi government has stated repeatedly that non-Muslims who are not converts from Islam may practice their religion in private, this policy has not been codified,” the reported added.

Last week, Saudi Arabia executed 37 people on ‘terrorism’ charges.

Thirty-two of those executed were from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority and a number of them were juveniles when they were arrested, including a teenager who had planned to study in the US.

The US placed Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s top “countries of particular concern” or CPCs in November 2018.

However, Johnnie Moore, USCIRF’s commissioner who wrote the profile on Saudi Arabia, said promoting “punitive measures” against the kingdom would be counterproductive.

“Such punitive measures could likely have the effect of forcing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to engage directly and more seriously with countries where religious freedom is not a consideration at all in their foreign policy priorities,” he said.

The State Department recommends granting Saudi Arabia a special waiver because the country is an “important interest to the United States”, the report said.

Saudi Arabia and the US share a deep alliance. The US purchases Saudi oil while the kingdom has ordered billions of dollars of arms from the United States.

Saudi Arabia was the first overseas country visited by US President Donald Trump after he became president in 2017, and his visit to Riyadh came just weeks before Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies initiated a blockade of Qatar.

Trump has continued to stress the importance of the US alliance with Saudi Arabia even after the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which prompted near global condemnation.

Senate Confirms Dangerous Christian Extremist as CIA Director

Global Research, January 25, 2017
Patheos 23 January 2017
Mike Pompeo, el candidato de Donald Trump para hacerse cargo de la CIA

The new head of the CIA is a dangerous Christian extremist who believes the U.S. is at war with Islam.

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Representative Mike Pompeo as the new head of the powerful Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Pompeo, a Kansas Republican and prominent member of the House Intelligence Committee, is a radical Christian extremist and a sharp critic of Islam who endorses the notion of a “Holy War” between Christians and Muslims, and believes the fight against terrorism is a war between Islam and Christianity.

Speaking at a church group in Wichita, Kansas, in 2014, Pompeo claimed that Christianity was the “only solution” to combat terrorism, arguing that the greatest “threat to America” is caused by “people who deeply believe that Islam is the way.”

Pompeo told the church-goers:

This threat to America is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer.

These folks believe that it is religiously driven for them to wipe Christians from the face of the earth.

Pompeo continued:

They abhor Christians, and will continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ our savior is truly the only solution for our world.

In addition, at an event hosted by a Virginia-based think tank last year, Pompeo again invoked the notion of a Holy War, describing the wars in which the U.S. is involved in as being “between the Christian West and the Islamic East.”

Cosmopolitan reports that Pompeo’s past comments concerning Muslims have drawn sharp criticism. For example, in the months after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Pompeo took to the House floor to call on Muslim leaders to denounce acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam, declaring:

It’s been just under two months since the attacks in Boston, and in those intervening weeks, the silence of Muslim leaders has been deafening.

Pompeo went on to suggest that failing to condemn the terrorist attacks made Muslim leaders “potentially complicit” in those attacks.

In another anti-Muslim incident earlier this year, Pompeo, using veiled threats and intimidation tactics, forced a mosque located in Kansas to cancel an appearance by a prominent Muslim leader, in part because the speaker was scheduled to appear on the Christian holy day of Good Friday.

Writing for Slate, Michelle Goldberg notes:

Amid the fire hose of lunacy that is the Trump transition, however, Pompeo’s extremism has been overlooked. It’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that America’s CIA will shortly be run by a man who appears to view American foreign policy as a vehicle for holy war.

The Washington Post reports Pompeo “is known as one of the more fanatical purveyors of conspiracy theories.” For example, previously Pompeo suggested President Obama might have an “affinity for” radical Islam.

Bottom line: Pompeo is a dangerous Christian extremist. His Holy War mentality is alarming, and completely inappropriate for the Director of the CIA.

(Large portions of this article were previously published here: Trump CIA Pick: Dangerous Christian Extremist)

Trump’s CIA pick Mike Pompeo (Image by Gage Skidmore)

G.R Editor’s Note:

What Mike Pompeo fails to acknowledge is that Christianity is embedded in the teachings of Islam. Muslims endorse the teachings of Jesus Christ, described as the penultimate prophet and messenger of God.

“In Islam, Isa ibn Maryam (Arabic: عيسى بن مريم‎, translit. ʿĪsā ibn Maryāmlit. ‘Jesus, son of Mary’‎), or Jesus, is understood to be the penultimate prophet and messenger of Allah (God) and al-Masih, the Arabic term for Messiah,[1][2] the “Christ”,[3] sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā’īl in Arabic) with a new revelation: al-Injīl (Arabic for “the Gospel”).[4] Jesus is believed to be a prophet,[3] is reflected as a significant figure,[5] being mentioned in the Quran in 93 ayaat (Arabic for verses) with various titles attached such as “Son of Mary”,[6] ”Spirit of God”,[7] and the “Word of God” (source Wikipedia)

Some good news for the UK, Farage plans a permanent move to the USA

Nigel Farage plans to meet Trump aides ahead of permanent move to United States

The interim UKIP leader will go on an unofficial diplomatic visit to meet President-elect’s team.

Donald Trump

 Nigel Farage is ‘very flattered’ by Donald Trump’s UK ambassador comments

Nigel Farage will go to Washington DC in December to meet Donald Trump’s aides and is reportedly considering a permanent move to the US.

The interim leader of the UK Independence Party will travel with party donor Arron Banks and his adviser Andy Wigmore to meet the transition team preparing for Trump’s move to the White House with whom Farage is said to be in “constant contact”, the Telegraph reported

It will be seen as a move to undermine the UK Prime Minister Theresa May who is yet to meet the president-elect

Farage was the first UK politician to visit Trump after his election victory and the President-elect said on Twitter that “many people” would like to see Mr Farage as UK ambassador to the US and said he would do a “great job”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the pro-Brexit Tory MP, said he was not sure Farage should take the post, despite his good relationship with Trump, saying: “Mr Farage is certainly extraordinary in his own way but I think that being plenipotentiary as well may be a bit too much,” The Telegraph reported.

Meanwhile the Times reported that Farage, who will stand down as UKIP leader on Monday, has told friends he is getting ready to emigrate to the US with his wife Kirsten.

The paper said friends report how he is concerned about life in Britain. He has not appeared in public with his family for more than 18 months after anti-Ukip protesters chased his wife and daughters out of a pub in Kent and that he would feel “freer” from public attention living abroad.

Donald Trump, Nigel Farage

Donald Trump has proposed interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s name for the new UK ambassador to the USGetty Images

Farage attended a Brexit celebration on Wednesday evening (23 November) at the Ritz hotel in central London.

Among the 120 guests were Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, 82, the twins who own The Daily Telegraph, Richard Desmond, 64, owner of the Daily Express, and pro-Brexit MPs.

At the event, Farage described how in the US “the revolution is total” but in the UK, “the people have spoken, but the same players have just been shuffled around the chess board and we are still being run by the career professional political class”.

In a light-hearted gesture, the Ukip leader was presented with a platter of Ferrero Rocher, the chocolates associated with diplomatic parties.

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage holds a tray of the diplomat’s favourite, Ferrero Rocher, at the Ritz hotel in central London on Wednesday 23 November at a Brexit celebration. The interim UKIP leader is reportedly looking to move to the United StatesReuters

The FBI, Not “ISIS,” Radicalized the Orlando Shooter

June 20, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – As predicted, the FBI is revealed to have approached Orlando shooting suspect Omar Mateen in 2013 with informants posing as terrorists in an attempt to “lure” him into participating in a terrorist attack.

Image: As scary as any cartoon villain – and ironically – quite literally a manufactured villain. Marcus Robertson is not only a former US Marine, but also a long-time CIA and FBI asset. He runs an extremist website on American soil with absolute impunity and is likely one component of the FBI’s counterterror entrapment pipeline. 

USA Today’s TC Palm reports in an article titled, “Exclusive: PGA Village residents want answers from security firm,” that (emphasis added):

The FBI launched an investigation into Mateen after Sheriff’s Office officials reported the incident to the agency. As part of its investigation, the FBI examined Mateen’s travel history, phone records, acquaintances and even planted a confidential informant in the courthouse to “lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite,” Mascara said. The FBI concluded Mateen was not a threat after that, Mascara said.

This is in line with the FBI’s practice of approaching and entrapping potential terror suspects by posing as terrorists themselves and aiding and abetting them in the planning and preparations for high-profile attacks. These undercover operations include everything from “casing out” potential targets, to the obtaining and training with actual, live explosives, to the purchasing of small arsenals of firearms including the sort of semi-automatic rifles and pistols used by Mateen during the Orlando shooting.


In addition to the FBI’s undercover operation, it is now also revealed that Mateen frequented the website of another FBI/CIA informant, Marcus Dwayne Roberson, a former US Marine, turned bank robber, turned US government informant.
While US politicians, law enforcement officials, and media networks attempt to claim Robertson’s extremist website, the “Timbuktu Seminary,” was his own independent project, the extent of his association with the US government makes this difficult, if not impossible to believe. Instead, it appears to be the perfect mechanism to feed the FBI’s entrapment pipeline, attracting and identifying possible suspects for the FBI to then approach and “investigate.”

The National Review’s article, “The Orlando Jihadist and the Blind Sheikh’s Bodyguard,” would report (emphasis added):

According to Fox News, Omar Mateen, the jihadist who carried out the mass-murder attack at a gay nightclub in Florida this weekend, was a student of Marcus Robertson, an Orlando-based radical Muslim who once served as a bodyguard to Omar Abdel Rahman — the notorious “Blind Sheikh” whom I prosecuted for terrorism crimes in the early to mid 1990s. 

The National Review also reported that (emphasis added):

In Robertson’s case, it is reported that he agreed to work for the government, gathering intelligence both overseas and in the United States. According to Fox, however, he was expelled from the covert informant program in early 2007 after attacking his CIA handler in Africa.

But Robertson’s stint with the CIA was not the only time he would work for the US government after his service in the US Marine Corps. The National Review leaves out the fact that before his dismissal from the CIA, he was an informant for the FBI between 2004 and 2007.

The Daily Beast in its article, “Was Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen Inspired by This Bank-Robbing Ex-Marine?,” would report (emphasis added):

“Plaintiff worked as a covert operator for the FBI Terrorist Task Force from 2004 until 2007, performing operations in the United Sates and internationally with and against suspected and known terrorist organizations,” Robertson says in court papers. 

Robertson remained in touch with American law enforcement and intelligence officials when he moved back to the United States, according to court papers filed by his attorney, “served as a confidential source in domestic terrorism investigations from Atlanta to Los Angeles.”

Is the American public expected to believe that a US government asset who received special training in the military and served as an informant and operative for both the FBI and the CIA would somehow, suddenly be allowed to drop off the US government’s radar and be allowed to run an extremist websitein the United States?

Image: How far do undercover FBI investigations go? How about building a van-bomb for a suspect after taking him to a public park to detonate real explosives? The FBI’s own affidavit reveals that is precisely what FBI informants did while investigating Portland, Oregon terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud. Did the FBI’s attempts to lure the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, into committing a terror attack contribute in his radicalization? The FBI must answer to this.  

Indeed, no American should believe this. Robertson was step one in Omar Mateen – the Orlando shooter’s – radicalization. The FBI’s attempt to pose as terrorists to lure Mateen into going along with a terrorist attack was step two. Though the FBI has so far failed to disclose the details of that investigation, comments made by FBI Director James Comey himself indicate that FBI informants may have worked on Mateen for up to 10 months.

Between exposure to Robertson’s extremist propaganda, honed after years of working as an informant and operative identifying and exposing terror suspects, and the FBI’s own informants over the course of months, if not years, it is clear that the US government and its “counterterrorism” measures radicalized Mateen – not “ISIS.”

The Guardian in its article, “CIA has not found any link between Orlando killer and Isis, says agency chief,” further highlights this blatant truth by reporting (emphasis added):

The Central Intelligence Agency chief has not been “able to uncover any link” between Orlando killer Omar Mateen and the Islamic State, despite Mateen’s stated allegiance to the jihadist group during Sunday’s LGBT nightclub massacre.

If Omar Mateen was a “homegrown terrorist,” the FBI served as the gardeners.

The American public must now demand the details of the FBI’s undercover work regarding Omar Mateen, as well as the truth behind any enduring ties between Robertson and the US government. If Robertson has no connections with the US government, an explanation as to why he is allowed to operate an extremist website on American soil must be provided.

For political and ideological opportunists attempting to seize upon the Orlando tragedy to uphold an example of “Islamic extremism,” it is especially ironic that the facts indicate that the act of terrorism was entirely divorced from “Islam,” and instead the result of America’s ongoing view of terrorism as a convenient and versatile geopolitical tool, rather than a threat to genuinely combat.

That quite literally every aspect that contributed to Omar Mateen’s radicalization is directly connected to the US government itself, illustrates just who the real threat is that American’s should fear – the threat within the halls of its own government – not “terrorists” dwelling beyond them.

FBI Entrapment Fuels Terror, Not Stops It

June 17, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – After a torrent of multifaceted politically-motivated assumptions about the Orlando shooting which claimed the lives of 50 and left scores more injured, the extent to which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interacted with the suspect, Omar Mateen, before the attacks was partially revealed.

In a press conference, FBI Director James Comey would admit (emphasis added):

…the FBI’s Miami office opened a preliminary investigation, and over the next 10 months we attempted to determine whether he was possibly a terrorist. Something we do in hundreds and hundreds of cases all across the country. 

Our investigation involved introducing confidential sources to him, recording conversations with him, following him, reviewing transactional records from his communications, and searching all government holdings for any possible connections, any possible derogatory information. We then interviewed him twice. He admitted making the statements that his co-workers reported, but explained that he did it in anger because he thought his co-workers were discriminating against him and teasing him because he was Muslim.

FBI Director Comey never elaborated on just how those informants interacted with Mateen. However, examining publicly available FBI affidavits from other investigations that resulted in arrests and prosecutions, it is almost certain the informants posed as terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda or the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS).

In two cases that unfolded just last years, FBI informants would be revealed to have helped plan attacks with suspects, suggest to suspects that they credit ISIS for the attacks (as reported by the Intercept), and even helped them in procuring weapons and explosives before finally arresting them.

The results of such investigations are often high-profile counterterrorism news stories portraying the investigations as having stopped real attacks. Headlines like the Washington Post’s “Mass. man accused of plotting to hit Pentagon and Capitol with drone aircraft,” or the FBI’s own press release, “Oregon Resident Convicted in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony,” betray the fact the virtually every aspect of these supposed plots from A-Z were scripted by the FBI’s informants themselves with the suspects often being mentally unstable and technically/financially incapable of carrying out the attacks on their own – as evident in the FBI’s own affidavits.

Protecting America, or Exploiting the Mentally Ill to Fill Quotas and Make Headlines?  

The FBI often opens these cases when suspects with questionable mental health make statements online or to friends, family, or co-workers indicating possible support for terrorist groups or terroristic aspirations. Comments could range from claims of belonging to a terrorist group or expressing a dislike of or a desire to cause harm to certain groups.

Instead of recognizing a potentially dangerous, mentally unstable individual and getting them the help they need, the FBI instead proceeds with a process of entrapping them. They work often for months posing as terrorists, gaining the trust of the suspect, and leading them through elaborate, scripted terror plots.

So elaborate are these undercover investigations, that in at least two cases, FBI informants would actually train suspects how to use real explosives and even practice detonating live explosives in remote areas in the lead up to the final “attack.”

Image: What looks like a terrifying bomb filling the back of a van was actually constructed by the FBI and handed over to suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud in Portland, Oregon. They also handed him a detonator he attempted to trigger twice before finally being arrested. The FBI – prior to the final staged bombing/arrest – would travel with the suspect to Lincoln County Park where he and FBI informants detonated real explosives. 

In one such case in 2010, the FBI investigated naturalized US citizen and Oregon resident Mohamed Osman Mohamud. In their own official statement titled, “Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland,” released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on November 26, 2010 it was reported (emphasis added):

According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack.

In 2012, amid another FBI undercover investigation, USA Today would report in their article, “FBI foils alleged suicide bomb attack on U.S. Capitol,” that (emphasis added):

According to a counterterrorism official, El Khalifi “expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times,” the Associated Press writes. During the year-long investigation, El Khalifi detonated explosives at a quarry in the capital region with undercover operatives. He is not believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, officials said.

One can only speculate what – over the course of 10 months – undercover FBI informants said and did with Orlando shooting suspect Omar Mateen and how that may have contributed to his final act of violence years later.

The Public Must Demand Answers From the FBI 

The FBI’s practice of entrapping terror suspects has long been called into question. Until now, the damage caused by the FBI’s methods has been confined to locking away for years suspects who were otherwise incapable of carrying out actual terror attacks and instead required the attention of mental health professionals.

With revelations that the FBI investigated Omar Mateen twice, including two interviews and the use of undercover informants over the course of at least 10 months, it appears that the FBI’s methods may have backfired – and it wouldn’t be for the first time.

Image: Another FBI undercover investigation backfired in 1993 when suspects the FBI was helping build a truck bomb for ended up detonating the device in New York City’s World Trade Center, killing 6 and wounding hundreds more. The FBI’s role in the bombing was only revealed when an undercover informant who recorded conversations between himself and FBI agents, provided tapes to the New York Times

It is possible that contact with undercover informants posing as extremists may have radicalized or at the very least, planted the seeds for the violence Mateen would eventually carry out years later. The public, press, and America’s elected representatives must demand answers from the FBI regarding the nature of their investigation including who the FBI’s informants posed as, and what ideas they attempted to lure Mateen into their practiced methods of entrapment with.

Did they suggest or help plan attacks on bars as they did with Alexander Ciccolo whom the FBI entrapped and arrested in 2015 according to the Intercept’s article, “Another “Terror” Arrest; Another Mentally Ill Man, Armed by the FBI?” Did they encourage or compound a possible internal conflict Mateen was struggling with regarding his apparent homosexuality?

So far, the FBI refuses to make the details of their previous investigations public. They must as it constitutes a potentially essential key in ascertaining Mateen’s motives – and the FBI investigating a crime they themselves may have played a criminally negligent role in motivating constitutes a dangerous conflict of interests unacceptable if an impartial and honest investigation is to move forward.

Instead of attempting to hitch our own various personal political causes to this tragedy, make it a priority instead to pursue and demand the truth. The villains we think we fear may pale in comparison to what may have truly sparked this tragedy – and exposing it may be the key to preventing the next tragedy.

If the FBI played a role in radicalizing and provoking Mateen’s violence, and if the FBI is conducting hundreds of such entrapment cases all across America, how many other pending tragedies await the American public?

Dancing in Syria and Dancing in Turky

[ Ed. note – I wonder how long this dance school would remain open should America’s “moderate rebels” succeed in seizing power in Syria. The Syrian people go on exhibiting amazing resilience in the face of attacks upon their country by proxy terrorist armies funded by the usual suspects (we all know who they are), as meanwhile the Western media continue to preach to us that Assad is a brutal dictator who “kills his own people,” etc., etc…. Yes! A brutal, brutal dictator who kills hundreds of thousands of his own people–but who allows dancing schools to remain open! Sounds a bit of an anomaly. But maybe the Daily Beast has an explanation readily available they’d care to share with us.

At any rate, on to some late breaking news. You could maybe call this portion of today’s post the “Dancing in Turkey” section. RT reporter Lizzie Phelan has crossed the border into Turkey and is filing a series of reports this week on ISIS activities, including the digging of trenches, which the Turkish government doesn’t seem overly concerned about stopping. ]

‘Turkey the Only One Supporting us’: Syrian Rebel Siding with Islamists on Ankara’s Role


© Mohamad Bayoush

While civilians who still live on the Turkish-Syrian border suffer from Islamic State attacks and blame Turkish army inaction, so-called moderate rebels of the Free Syrian Army, fighting side-by-side with Islamist extremists, openly admit Ankara’s support.

RT’s Lizzie Phelan visited the Turkish town of Karkamis, located on the border with Syria just opposite the area controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). She spoke with locals residents, refugees and militants, who described the role Turkey has allegedly played in fostering and supporting both Syrian rebels and Islamist extremists.

Many Karkamis residents were forced to flee the town and find a home elsewhere because of the danger they faced from ISIS attacks across the border.

Turkey’s efforts to increase security, which were largely limited to building a wall that cut off the local cross-border trade, have led to majority of shops being boarded up and abandoned, Lizzie Phelan reported from the town.

Those who stayed include Syrian refugees who managed to escape ISIS jihadists in Syria. However, they do not believe the danger is over, as ISIS shells and bullets reach them even in Turkey’s Karkamis.

Aysel Yilmaz, a refugee from the Syrian town of Jarablus, spoke to RT and described her lucky escape from across the border, adding that she still feels very unsafe. Yilmaz said she was seriously wounded while visiting her father’s grave in Karkamis. The bullet came from ISIS fighters shooting from Syria.

“We were by my father’s grave right over there, they fired shots from the other part and I got hit. There were some people trying to escape from the other side, they were the target but I was also hit,” Yilmaz said. “I was treated in hospital, at first for 15 days, and then again for another 10 days. I had surgery twice, my lung was wounded. I still suffer so much.”

A very contrasting account was given to Phelan by a fighter from the Syrian opposition, who openly admitted receiving help from Turkey and seamlessly crossing into Syria every two weeks. The conversation also gives an insight into how casual the relations of the so-called moderates are with Islamist groups siding with internationally recognized terrorists, but not recognized as terrorists by Turkey or the West.

Read more

“Turkey is the only one supporting us. We are very grateful for their help,” the fighter told Phelan.

When asked what groups he is fighting along, the man mentioned“Jabhat Al Shamiye, the Sultan Murad Division, the Sham Legion and Ahrar al-Sham.”

Ahrar al-Sham has been accused of slaughtering civilians around Aleppo earlier in June, while Russia has repeatedly pointed to the groups’ brotherly ties with Al-Nusra Front terrorists.

Turkish journalist and columnist for Al-Monitor Fehim Tastekin told RT that Al-Nusra uses other groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, as proxies to distribute weapons “coming from Turkey.” Tastekin added that “they also share money in the same way.”

READ MORE: Over 20 killed, scores injured in Al-Nusra & Ahrar al-Sham shelling of residential Aleppo – MoD

Reports of the Turkish government’s ties with Islamic State have surged in recent months, with some alleging that Erdogan is supporting the terror group so that it would help remove his geopolitical rival, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Others point out that Turkey chooses to be involved in the Syrian conflict to beat Kurdish fighters, who are one of the few successful forces when it comes to battling against Islamic State.

“[Kurdish fighters] didn’t attack Turkey, instead, they secured our borders against ISIS, and we need to thank the Kurdish fighters. Turkey’s fear is baseless and because of that policy, Turkey is indirectly helping ISIS. Turkish policy is also delaying the elimination of ISIS. This is not an option which is beneficial for us, for Turkey, for the region, for the people of Syria,” Tastekin said.

In Phelan’s previous report from the Turkish-Syrian border, she spoke to witnesses in Karkamis, who revealed that the Turkish military has been ordered to ignore Islamic State’s activities on the border, allowing the jihadists to dig trenches and plant mines.

In March, an RT Documentary crew visited Shaddadi along with other towns in northern Syria. The trip was scheduled shortly after the towns’ liberation from ISIS fighters. Upon arriving, the journalists discovered invoices detailing the large-scale illegal oil trade carried out by jihadists with Turkey, as well as Islamist propaganda brochures printed in Turkey.

The RT crew also managed to get footage of passports of deceased and escaped jihadists, who had stamps issued at Turkish border checkpoints, proving that they crossed into Syria through Turkey.

Another report from May showed that Islamic State militants injured on the Syrian battlefield regularly traveled to Turkey to receive costly and complicated medical treatment. The information was leaked via tapped phone calls and was handed to the media by opposition MP Erem Erdem.

Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex.


Saudi Arabia, an ’ISIS’ That Has Made It

Kamel Daoud

Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. 
The “ISIS”; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.
Saudi Arabia, an
Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious religious laws. That translates into an obsessive hatred of imagery and representation and therefore art, but also of the body, nakedness and freedom. Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it.
The West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia is striking: It salutes the theocracy as its ally but pretends not to notice that it is the world’s chief ideological sponsor of Islamist culture. The younger generations of radicals in the so-called Arab world were not born “jihadists”. They were suckled in the bosom of Fatwa Valley, a kind of “Islamist” Vatican with a vast industry that produces theologians, religious laws, books, and aggressive editorial policies and media campaigns.
One might counter: Isn’t Saudi Arabia itself a possible target of Daesh? Yes, but to focus on that would be to overlook the strength of the ties between the reigning family and the clergy that accounts for its stability – and also, increasingly, for its precariousness. The Saudi royals are caught in a perfect trap: Weakened by succession laws that encourage turnover, they cling to ancestral ties between king and preacher. The Saudi clergy produces Islamism, which both threatens the country and gives legitimacy to the regime.
One has to live in the Muslim world to understand the immense transformative influence of religious television channels on society by accessing its weak links: households, women, rural areas. “Islamist” culture is widespread in many countries – Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania. There are thousands of “Islamist” newspapers and clergies that impose a unitary vision of the world, tradition and clothing on the public space, on the wording of the government’s laws and on the rituals of a society they deem to be contaminated.
It is worth reading certain “Islamist” newspapers to see their reactions to the attacks in Paris. The West is cast as a land of “infidels.” The attacks were the result of the onslaught against Islam. Muslims and Arabs have become the enemies of the secular and the Jews. The Palestinian question is invoked along with the rape of Iraq and the memory of colonial trauma, and packaged into a messianic discourse meant to seduce the masses. Such talk spreads in the social spaces below, while up above, political leaders send their condolences to France and denounce a crime against humanity. This totally schizophrenic situation parallels the West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia.
All of which leaves one skeptical of Western democracies’ thunderous declarations regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism. Their war can only be myopic, for it targets the effect rather than the cause. Since “ISIS” is first and foremost a culture, not a militia, how do you prevent future generations from turning to “jihadism” when the influence of “Fatwa Valley” and its clerics and its culture and its immense editorial industry remains intact?
Is curing the disease therefore a simple matter? Hardly. Saudi Arabia remains an ally of the West in the many chess games playing out in the Middle East… And there’s the trap. Denial creates the illusion of equilibrium. “Jihadism” is denounced as the scourge of the century but no consideration is given to what created it or supports it. This may allow saving face, but not saving lives.
Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father: Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex. Until that point is understood, battles may be won, but the war will be lost. “Jihadists” will be killed, only to be reborn again in future generations and raised on the same books.
The attacks in Paris have exposed this contradiction again, but as happened after 9/11, it risks being erased from our analyses and our consciences.
Source: The New York Times, Edited by website team
21-11-2015 | 14:01

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 


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