Saudi support for extremism must be halted

By Jonathan Power

December 8th 2015

On Sunday the German vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, publicly accused Saudi Arabia of financing Islamic extremism in the West and warned that it must stop.
He said that the Saudi regime is funding extremist mosques and communities that pose a danger to public security. “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Gabriel told the newspaper, Bild am Sonntag in an interview.

At last some Western leaders are grasping the Saudi Arabian nettle. For too long the country has been given a clean pass. Saudi Arabia’s oil and massive arms purchases have made Western politicians mute for decade upon decade. But now, with clear evidence that Saudi Arabia has allowed rich Saudis to fund first Al Qaeda and more recently Islamic State (ISIS), Western leaders are waking up to what their expediency has tolerated and allowed.

Thanks to Wikileaks we know that Hillary Clinton when Secretary of State wrote in a cable in December 2009 that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan.” Lately, running for president, she has been explicit in her warnings.

Why has it taken so long for eyes to begin to open?

In his autobiography Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service (home of James Bond), wrote that some time before 9/11 Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington, told him that “The time is not far off in the Middle East when it will be literally ‘God Help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

Dearlove, speaking last week, said he has no doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with their governments turning a blind eye, have played a central role in the IS surge. “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously”, he said.

Saudi Arabia over the next few years may well come to regret Read More »

TFF PressInfo 297: Misleading the world on Iran’s “bomb”

By Jonathan Power

December 23, 2014

The negotiations over Iran’s supposed nuclear bomb-building abilities seem to be stuck in a rut. Given the detailed undertakings by Iran incorporated in the interim agreement made last year it should have only been a hop, skip and a jump to forge a final agreement.

In reality it hasn’t been so easy. Over many years the US with European connivance most – not always – of the time manufactured and manipulated the whole crisis. To overcome the suspicions aroused by that, now past, tactic is not easy. That is not just my opinion after following this subject for 30 years. It is that of the former vice-chair of the US National Intelligence Council, Graham Fuller.

Now a new book, “Manufactured Crisis” by the astute investigative journalist, Gareth Porter, has taken the lid off the attempt by the US, often in collusion with Israel, to paint Iran into a corner, whilst shunning any effort by Iran to resolve the dispute.

But before we get into that I want to make one point about the Islamic sense of morality. Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, the successive top clerics and paramount leaders of the country, have made it clear on a number of occasions that for their country to build a nuclear bomb would go against Islamic belief and jurisprudence.

I don’t find this difficult to believe – during the bitter and savage war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1980 when Iran lost 2 million people Iran refused to deploy chemical weapons even though Iraq did. They too were regarded as un-Islamic. Iran has been consistent in its morality. Iran’s religious practice today is about as far away from the Islamic State or Pakistan’s Taliban as you can get.Read More »

TFF PressInfo 278: September 11 – The War on Terror is a – predictable – fiasco

By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder

TFF PressInfo 278

Lund, Sweden September 11, 2014

President Obama’s speech last night

This speech is a record low in terms of moral and intellectual analysis: What it boils down to is war – i.e. killing every single ISIS person anywhere, people who he compares to cancer cells.

The war on terror has always been about killing terrorists but you can not kill an ism – terrorism. To do something about the causes that compel people to become terrorists would be much more efficient.

The President has said repeatedly that a lasting solution is political, not military. The speech, however, is exclusively military – not a word of political, psychological or other insights: No, we kill people because we think it is wrong to kill people…

The speech can be seen as a proof of how utterly misguided the U.S. response to 9/11 was – had it been more intelligence and less revenge-oriented, there would neither have been a devastating Iraq war nor an ISIS.

It’s difficult to be Number One in a rank order. You ony teach downward. If you are Number Twenty, there are 19 others to learn from. It seems as if the United States, inside its exceptionalist box, is now unable to learn lessons.Read More »