In Syria, a campaign of violent terrorism has been going on since 2011. Over 150,000 people are estimated to have already been killed. Millions have been displaced, forced to become refugees, either within Syria, or in neighboring countries.
Since beginning of this violent insurgency campaign against the Syrian Arab Republic, the terrorists have received foreign support for their efforts. Support has come from US aligned regimes such as Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, as well as directly from the United States.
The US aligned gulf states have not denied arming and supporting the violent insurgent groups. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia especially, has been vocal in its support for the violent overthrow of the Syrian Arab Republic. Most of the insurgent groups fighting the Syrian government are fanatical Sunni Muslims. They talk of creating a “caliphate” in Syria, and punishing, if not exterminating all with contrary religious practices such as the Christians, the Alawites, and the Shia.
The violent terrorist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now in the spotlight of world media, did not simply materialize out of thin air. It has operated in Syria for a long time, engaging in a campaign of violence and terrorism alongside other insurgent groups like the Al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army. Recently, the Syrian government arrested several ISIS fighters, who had come to Syria all the way from Malaysia.
ISIS and House of Saud
When US officials describe the violent Syrian insurgents who are now receiving direct US funding and weapons, they are always called “opposition” “militants” “revolutionaries” or some other colorful euphemism. Words like “terrorist” are not used. The western media has always portrayed the Syrian government as the villains, and often cast the insurgents as romantic revolutionaries.
Now that one particular terrorist group, ISIS, has entered Iraq, and seized a large part of its territory, US officials have suddenly begun to speak of them with hostility. Obama has announced he is sending US military advisors to Iraq to advise the Iraqi government, led by Nouri al-Maliki in fighting ISIS.
Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has loudly declared that Saudi Arabia is supporting ISIS, and has been roundly condemned them for this.
Attempts by the western press to “disprove” his very true allegation have been ridicules. Articles in the western press claim that the Saudi government has not directly sent weapons to ISIS, based on nothing but Saudi Arabia’s own statements proclaiming this.
Yet, even those defending the Saudis point out that the bulk of the large budget of ISIS comes from “donors” in Saudi Arabia and other US aligned gulf states.
The fact that Saudi money is the basis for the ISIS campaign of terrorism in Syria and Iraq is not disputed. All that can disputed is whether the funds come from the official Saudi state treasury, or merely from generous private patrons of terrorism. The reports seem to forget that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute autocracy. If the House of Saud disapproved of donations to ISIS, they could easily halt them by decree, and enforce their orders on threat of death.
The reason western media is highly motivated to “disprove” the reality of Saudi money flowing to ISIS because of the fact that Saudi Arabia is not an independent geo-political actor. Saudi Arabia is directly accountable to the United States. Saudi oil is controlled by US oil corporations. Saudi Arabia receives millions of dollars in US aid. Saudi Arabia now has the fourth largest military budget on earth, according to recent SIPRI report, and the weapons are being almost exclusively purchased from the United States.
The use of the Saudi Arabia as a financial middleman for US aligned terrorists is not new. Saudi Arabia was key in transferring funds to US aligned insurgents in Afghanistan as they battled against the People’s Democratic Party and the Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia even worked with the Reagan administration to finance insurgent terrorists as far off as Nicaragua in their battle against the Sandinistas. Saudi support for ISIS, like all Saudi activity, is not independent geo-political action. Saudi support for ISIS, is merely indirect US support for ISIS.
Who Wants Sectarian War?
At this very moment, on the battlefields of Iraq, two US backed armed groups are shooting US made guns, filled with US made bullets at each other. The situation in Iraq, since ISIS began its insurgency campaign, has become far more violent than the months prior. The instability has caused other groups within Iraqi society to fight the Maliki government as well, including the deposed Baath party.
Why is the US now sending military advisors to Iraq, and claiming to support the Iraqi government, while also supporting ISIS by proxy? Is it not irrational to be on both sides of an armed conflict?
If the armed conflict breaking out in Iraq were destroying residential neighborhoods New York’s Hamptons, oil wells in Texas, or other assets valuable to the very rich people that set policy in the US, it would indeed be irrational to perpetuate a conflict by arming both sides. This, however, is not the case.
In the war breaking out currently in Iraq, as in all the fighting since 2003, it is not the neighborhoods of Wall Street capitalists that are being destroyed. It not oil wells owned by Exxon Mobile that are being blown up, or otherwise put out of commission.
The fighting in Iraq does not harm the financial interests of the billionaires who control the United States. Rather, it ensures that they will have no stable competitors.
Prior to 2003, Iraq’s state owned oil company was major factor in the international markets. In 2003, with cruise missiles, tanks, US troops, and other means of destruction, the Iraqi state owned oil company was removed from the world market.
With Iraq’s state owned oil company removed from the world market, the world supply of oil decreased. This made the oil in the hands of US corporations, which was not destroyed in the 2003 war, far more valuable.
Maliki and the Threat of Stability
Why is the US now looking to spread a huge conflict in Iraq? The answer is quite simple.
According to Reuters, Iraq produced 3.3 million barrels per day in June. This is the highest Iraqi oil exports have ever been since the 2003 war.
Despite the fact over a million Iraqis have died since the US invasion; despite the fact that much of the country is still in ruin; despite the fact that for millions of Iraqi people absolute misery still prevails; for the wealthy 1% in the United States, Iraq has become to stable. It is exporting oil, and the level of chaos has decreased.
Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi president, despite being the head of a regime installed and supported by the US, has seen this rising stability as an opportunity to assert independence. Maliki has become quite friendly to the Islamic Republic of Iran, another country with a state owned oil company that is a competitor of the United States on international markets.
Since prior to the 2003 US invasion, a group of US backed terrorists called the “People’s Mujahadeen” were using base areas in Iraq to attack Iran. The United Nations has evacuated these anti-Iranian terrorists from Iraq, claiming that the Iraqi government is not taking measures to protect them. Some have even suggested that the Maliki government cooperated in helping Iran to defend itself from these US backed terrorists. Maliki has also gotten friendlier to the two biggest competitors of the US on the global market, the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.
If the growing stability were not enough, Maliki has dared be more than a mere puppet. He has acted in his own selfish interest, not merely being an obedient proxy for the interests of the billionaires in the United States. It is no surprise that even as the US sends military advisors to support his government, voices from among the ruling circles of power in the US are calling for him to go.
Salting the Earth with Sectarian War
The leaders of the US do not want to replace Maliki with a leader who is more trustworthy and accountable, who can finish off ISIS and build a peaceful and stable Iraq. The billionaires who run the US wish to replace Maliki with IEDs, snipers, kidnappings, beheadings, and warlords battling each other for power. They are funding and arming the Iraqi government, and ensuring that Saudi money continues to fund ISIS, so the killing can escalate.
In all the countries that have recently become victims of US military aggression, none of them have become “more secure” as a result. Libya once had a state owned oil company that was the top exporter in Africa. In Libya, the oil profits were used to subsidize food, housing, and education for the population, providing the highest living standard on the African continent. Now, Libya is in ruin. NATO bombs did not replace Gaddafi with “a peaceful transition government”, but with warlords battling for power amid poverty and chaos.
Afghanistan is not “more stable” since the US removal of the Taliban. The country is now filled with violence and chaos. The poppy fields that the Taliban once burned have been restored, and the chaos of heroin cartels are now also a major factor in Afghan life.
The campaign of violence the US has unleashed in Syria is not leading toward “creating freedom and democracy.” The country has instead been thrown into a catastrophic crisis, with millions forced to become refugees, and radical religious forces slaughtering innocent civilians as well as each other.
All the countries that are currently being targeted by the United States for attack have one common factor: independent economic development.
Venezuela is led by Bolivarian Socialists. Cuba, China, and People’s Korea are led by Communists. Syria and the Russian Federation are secular governments led by nationalists. Iran’s government is a deeply religious Islamic Republic.
But all of these governments have dared develop independent economics. They have strived to build up their own economies, and to compete with Wall Street and London in the global markets, and regardless of their wishes, they have been declared to be enemies of the United States.
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq did this as well. Saddam Hussein was supported by the US when he attacked Iran, and used chemical weapons against the Iranian people. But he also presided over a country with domestic stability, and he exported oil in competition with Wall Street. His overthrow by direct US military invasion has made Iraq are far more miserable place than ever before.
Now, as the slightest bit of stability returns to the country, a sectarian war involving ISIS being arranged. The hope of Wall Street and London is that soon Iraqi Sunni and Shia will be killing each other, in a bloodbath that can spread throughout the region.
Like the Roman empire, that plowed salt into the soil after defeating Carthage, the US wants to make sure nothing stable, peaceful, or economically prosperous ever sprouts there again.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.