Dark rumors are coming from officials about ISIS planning attacks in Britain and the USA. ISIS was rolling towards Baghdad, a little later it was exterminating local Christians and believers in an ancient religion (The Yezidi) in Kurd Territory. If I were onboard with the 1984 news media you'd think ISIS was about to take over the world and bomb the West to submission. Probably it's leaders would love to do that. But there is more here than meets the eye. Back in February I blogged on the subject of Prince Bandar ["Update on Bandar"] and before that in September of 2013 I shared information the Russians leaked on Bandar's boast that he controlled the anti-Assad revolutionaries in Syria. ["So Obviously about Oil"] that it was obvious that Prince Bandar was directing his "wasta" [influence] and bankrolling Al Nusra at the least and probably ISIS too. By December of 2013 this was obvious: [Bandar's Bandits, 911 & CIA frauds]
Back in May 2013 Senator John (crash) McCain, who now wants to "bomb, bomb, bomb" was meeting with the "Gen. Salim Idris, chief of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, accompanied McCain and they met with 19 battalion commanders." [News Report asking for heavy weapons]. At the time the "Free Syria Rebel Army" consisted of a main group that was relatively weak, Al Nusra, which is salafist and openly aligned with ISIS and ISIS. Al Jazeera reports:
"Analysts generally agree that of the eight major armed factions in the Syrian opposition, al-Nusra and the ISIS are by far the most prominent. This is hardly due to their relative strength since there are many groups in the Syrian opposition that are much better armed with many more fighters. al-Nusra has no more than 6,000 active members, while ISIS boasts about 7,000 members, out of which only 4,000 engage in actual fighting."[http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/02/al-qaida-third-generation-201421312828448349.html]
So when McCain was meeting those rebel leaders the allegations that at least 2 of them participated in beheadings was true. A lot of folks make hay from McCain's bull headed obtuseness, but that also says something about the intelligence of our intelligence. Who is funding ISIS, where did they get their weapons. And why did McCain not get briefed on the whole story. I don't believe he's that dumb. Someone was deliberately misleading him unless he was part of the con.
But it's true that only a few months ago he was meeting with it and it's equally radical but more local, rival Al Nusra and pinging Obama for not funding ISIS enough. He can't be so ambitious and mercenary as to support Al Qaeda just so he can criticize POTUS, can he? Yet it is obvious that the same people who had been cheering ISIS and criticizing the Administration for not going full stop to take down Assad are now criticizing the administration for not stopping them fast enough. I'm more interested in "Who, What, Where, Why and How questions about ISIS or "Islamic State" and the news media flies by important information in it's breathy focus on beheadings and fleeing refugees. So this blog is my attempt to make sense of what is going on.
The Role of Saudis/Prince Bandar in ISIL
One clue is that the Saudis seem to be trying to fire Prince Bandar from his main job. They can't actually fire him without possibly the current Sultan being beheaded himself, but they have tried. In July:
"Diplomatic sources told AFP on Thursday that Saudi Arabia has sidelined its intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, by transferring key aspects of the Syrian dossier, which he had previously been overseeing, to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef."[https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/9894-saudi-arabia-replaces-bandar-bin-sultan-as-leader-of-syrian-dossier]
What went wrong. A little more than a year ago Prince Bandar was getting paid for moving into Syria where POTUS refused to tread. The article doesn't give reasons it just says:
"A Western diplomat in the Gulf region told the news agency that Prince Bandar is no longer in charge of the Syrian dossier, leaving Prince Nayef primarily responsible."[Same, Mideast Monitor]
It appears that:
According to a source close to the dossier, Prince Nayef participated in a meeting last week in Washington between Western and Arab officials to discuss the situation in Syria.
Obviously it had something to do with Prince Bandar's management of Al Nusra and ISIL/ISIS/IS. But will anyone state this openly? Not our government. As I noted before the Saudis are our Frenemies:
"Diplomatic sources added that Washington has criticised Prince Bandar's management of the Syrian dossier."
The article notes:
"Prince Bandar, the son of the former Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, was appointed in July 2012 as the head of the Saudi Intelligence Service. He had previously served as the Saudi Ambassador to Washington for 22 years and played a key role in encouraging the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003."
Bandar was also the controller of Al Qaeda when they launched the 9/11 attacks. Which is another subject left to the conspiracy nuts despite being obvious. Bandar dropped out of the pictures like a former Commissar in the old Soviet Union, or one of the leaders around Big Brother in the Novel 1984. Someone probably erased him from photos:
"The Saudi media have not covered any activity of Prince Bandar's since January."
And suddenly McCain and friends have forgotten him too.
"A diplomatic source told AFP that he was hospitalised recently in the United States and is currently in Morocco."
I'll bet he's "sick" as in avoiding getting beheaded. I am getting so cynical in my old age that I believe the Syrians on this one:
"Media aligned with the Syrian regime have accused him of backing extremists in Syria."
The role of John McCain And Lindsey Graham in ISIS
The Atlantic magazine [http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/isis-saudi-arabia-iraq-syria-bandar/373181/ ] quotes John McCain from 2014:
“Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN’s Candy Crowley in January 2014. “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar, and for our Qatari friends,” the senator said once again a month later, at the Munich Security Conference.[Atlantic Article]
The Atlantic author continues:
"McCain was praising Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services and a former ambassador to the United States, for supporting forces fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham had previously met with Bandar to encourage the Saudis to arm Syrian rebel forces."
But the Atlantic then dryly notes:
"shortly after McCain’s Munich comments, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah relieved Bandar of his Syrian covert-action portfolio, which was then transferred to Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. By mid-April, just two weeks after President Obama met with King Abdullah on March 28, Bandar had also been removed from his position as head of Saudi intelligence—according to official government statements, at “his own request.” Sources close to the royal court told me that, in fact, the king fired Bandar over his handling of the kingdom’s Syria policy and other simmering tensions, after initially refusing to accept Bandar’s offers to resign. (Bandar retains his title as secretary-general of the king’s National Security Council.)"[Atlantic Article]
“ISIS has been a Saudi project.”
The Atlantic Article continues:
"The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the “moderate” armed opposition in the country, receives a lot of attention. But two of the most successful factions fighting Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups: Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the latter of which is now amassing territory in Iraq and threatening to further destabilize the entire region. And that success is in part due to the support they have received from two Persian Gulf countries: Qatar and Saudi Arabia."[Atlantic Article]
The Qataris' spill the beans:
"Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”"[Atlantic Article]
ISIS was Bandar's covert Op
"ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. The Saudi government, for its part, has denied allegations, including claims made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that it has directly supported ISIS. But there are also signs that the kingdom recently shifted its assistance—whether direct or indirect—away from extremist factions in Syria and toward more moderate opposition groups."
Sounds like the Saudis created a Frankenstein.
"The United States, France, and Turkey have long sought to support the weak and disorganized FSA, and to secure commitments from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to do the same. When Mohammed bin Nayef took the Syrian file from Bandar in February, the Saudi government appeared to finally be endorsing this strategy. As The Washington Post’s David Ignatius wrote at the time, “Prince Mohammed’s new oversight role reflects the increasing concern in Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries about al-Qaeda’s growing power within the Syrian opposition.”
So, this is circumstantial evidence that, as he had done with Chechen Rebels, Al Qaeda, and more recently with ISIS Prince Bandar had been arming, training and supporting Jihadis. With the full cooperation of some members of our CIA. No wonder we haven't seen what was on Bin Laden's hard drive or in his files.
"The worry at the time, punctuated by a February meeting between U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and the intelligence chiefs of Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, and others in the region, was that ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra had emerged as the preeminent rebel forces in Syria. The governments who took part reportedly committed to cut off ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and support the FSA instead. But while official support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia appears to have dried up, non-governmental military and financial support may still be flowing from these countries to Islamist groups.
"May still" is journalist speak for "probably is but I can't prove it in court."
"Senior White House officials have refused to discuss the question of any particular Saudi officials aiding ISIS and have not commented on Bandar’s departure. But they have emphasized that Saudi Arabia is now both supporting moderate Syrian rebels and helping coordinate regional policies to deal with an ascendant ISIS threat."
But the firing of Bandar is enough indication of the reality.
"Like elements of the mujahideen, which benefited from U.S. financial and military support during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and then later turned on the West in the form of al-Qaeda, ISIS achieved scale and consequence through Saudi support, only to now pose a grave threat to the kingdom and the region. It’s this concern about blowback that has motivated Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to encourage restraint in arming Syrian rebels. President Obama has so far heeded these warnings."
So once again we see that tactical thinking, especially "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is often stupid strategy. McCain and the Con artist right may make a big deal about "who lost Iraq" or "how did Al Qaeda get to rule Syria" in coming days, but they encouraged the Saudis to Arm ISIS and were blind to it's brutal practices and Salafist/Wahabi ideology. Both of which are direct reports from Saudi Arabia. The Atlantic article notes:
"John McCain’s desire to help rebel forces toss off a brutal dictator and fight for a more just and inclusive Syria is admirable. But as has been proven repeatedly in the Middle East, ousting strongmen doesn’t necessarily produce more favorable successor governments. Embracing figures like Bandar, who may have tried to achieve his objectives in Syria by building a monster, isn't worth it."[Atlantic Article]
I started this several months ago, but it is still topical so I figured I'd better finish it. The leading cleric denounced ISIS yesterday, but the funding hasn't stopped. It's still a Saudi project, just not one of the Central Government and it's Spy operations.
PS & Further Reading
I drafted this a few months ago, but just now finished it. This is further reading:
- Independent Article:
- Global Research makes Case that ISIS was a anti-Shia CIA project of the Bush Administration:
- ISIS: Made in USA (Pushes origins to Iraq war)