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US Allies Are Funding Isis – and Hillary Clinton Knew All Along
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It is fortunate for Saudi Arabia and Qatar that the furore over the sexual antics of Donald Trump is preventing much attention being given to the latest batch of leaked emails to and from Hillary Clinton. Most fascinating of these is what reads like a US State Department memo, dated 17 August 2014, on the appropriate US response to the rapid advance of Isis forces, which were then sweeping through northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

At the time, the US government was not admitting that Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies were supporting Isis and al-Qaeda-type movements. But in the leaked memo, which says that it draws on “western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region” there is no ambivalence about who is backing Isis, which at the time of writing was butchering and raping Yazidi villagers and slaughtering captured Iraqi and Syrian soldiers.

The memo says: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.” This was evidently received wisdom in the upper ranks of the US government, but never openly admitted because to it was held that to antagonise Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and Pakistan would fatally undermine US power in the Middle East and South Asia.

For an extraordinarily long period after 9/11, the US refused to confront these traditional Sunni allies and thereby ensured that the “War on Terror” would fail decisively; 15 years later, al-Qaeda in its different guises is much stronger than it used to be because shadowy state sponsors, without whom it could not have survived, were given a free pass.

It is not as if Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and the US foreign policy establishment in general did not know what was happening. An earlier WikiLeaks release of a State Department cable sent under her name in December 2009 states that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan].” But Saudi complicity with these movements never became a central political issue in the US. Why not?

The answer is that the US did not think it was in its interests to cut its traditional Sunni allies loose and put a great deal of resources into making sure that this did not happen. They brought on side compliant journalists, academics and politicians willing to give overt or covert support to Saudi positions.

The real views of senior officials in the White House and the State Department were only periodically visible and, even when their frankness made news, what they said was swiftly forgotten. Earlier this year, for instance, Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic wrote a piece based on numerous interviews with Barack Obama in which Obama “questioned, often harshly, the role that America’s Sunni Arab allies play in fomenting anti-American terrorism. He is clearly irritated that foreign policy orthodoxy compels him to treat Saudi Arabia as an ally”.

It is worth recalling White House cynicism about how that foreign policy orthodoxy in Washington was produced and how easily its influence could be bought. Goldberg reported that “a widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as ‘Arab-occupied territory’.”

Despite this, television and newspaper interview self-declared academic experts from these same think tanks on Isis, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are wilfully ignoring or happily disregarding their partisan sympathies.

The Hillary Clinton email of August 2014 takes for granted that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding Isis – but this was not the journalistic or academic conventional wisdom of the day. Instead, there was much assertion that the newly declared caliphate was self-supporting through the sale of oil, taxes and antiquities; it therefore followed that Isis did not need money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. The same argument could not be made to explain the funding of Jabhat al-Nusra, which controlled no oilfields, but even in the case of Isis the belief in its self-sufficiency was always shaky.

Iraqi and Kurdish leaders said that they did not believe a word of it, claiming privately that Isis was blackmailing the Gulf states by threatening violence on their territory unless they paid up. The Iraqi and Kurdish officials never produced proof of this, but it seemed unlikely that men as tough and ruthless as the Isis leaders would have satisfied themselves with taxing truck traffic and shopkeepers in the extensive but poor lands they ruled and not extracted far larger sums from fabulously wealthy private and state donors in the oil producers of the Gulf.

Going by the latest leaked email, the State Department and US intelligence clearly had no doubt that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding Isis. But there has always been bizarre discontinuity between what the Obama administration knew about Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and what they would say in public. Occasionally the truth would spill out, as when Vice-President Joe Biden told students at Harvard in October 2014 that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates “were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war. What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world”. Biden poured scorn on the idea that there were Syrian “moderates” capable of fighting Isis and Assad at the same time.


Hillary Clinton should be very vulnerable over the failings of US foreign policy during the years she was Secretary of State. But, such is the crudity of Trump’s demagoguery, she has never had to answer for it. Republican challenges have focussed on issues – the death of the US ambassador in Benghazi in 2012 and the final US military withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 – for which she was not responsible.

A Hillary Clinton presidency might mean closer amity with Saudi Arabia, but American attitudes towards the Saudi regime are becoming soured, as was shown recently when Congress overwhelmingly overturned a presidential veto of a bill allowing the relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government.

Another development is weakening Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies. The leaked memo speaks of the rival ambitions of Saudi Arabia and Qatar “to dominate the Sunni world”. But this has not turned out well, with east Aleppo and Mosul, two great Sunni cities, coming under attack and likely to fall. Whatever Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the others thought they were doing it has not happened and the Sunni of Syria and Iraq are paying a heavy price. It is this failure which will shape the future relations of the Sunni states with the new US administration.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Saudi Arabia 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    We can all recall when the Saudis were “ready to invade Syria”, which would never have crossed their minds if they hadn’t been reliant on steady U.S. backing.

    (Did Turkey shot down that Russian aircraft on its own will? What for would they have?)

  2. The US isn’t just funding ISIS, they created ISIS! Do you remember how ISIS just suddenly appeared out of thin air? Same with Al-Qaeda…and Boko Haram, and Al-Nusra Front, etc..

    • Replies: @Vendetta
  3. KA says:

    This article is wrong on so many counts. Are you saying that US is being taken for a camel ride by these Sunnis from Qatar to Saudi? Are you saying that American administration didnt want to support or doesn’t want to supoort,nurture,befriend, empower ISv,stay cozy with Jihadist,,make common causes with Jihadist, share similar dreams and vision of futures ? You must be kidding .

    If America were genuine,it would have not been agitating to nuke Russia,send to Inernational Court,put more sanctions,and would not have asked for assassinations of Russian. It would not have alluded to quagmire and body bags . From NYT to Telegraph and from CNN to BBC and every thing in between that could pass for some kind of media entity have been aiding and abetting these efforts . Its not limited to the occupied Arab territory in DC . It is the entire country and entire West that can find home and feel comfortable in that little piece of land you are referring to as Occupied Arab territory . Behaviors based on corruption with violent ideologies – Wahabism and Exceptionally racist Manifest Destiny – have a way of changing sometimes who is and who is not in driver’s seat . But the passengers are there for a long drive to hell. Those passengers know it also very well.

    If America were genuine,it would have listened to the warning of DIA and M Flynn that there were a willful decision ,there was a foreknowledge ,there was an avid anticipation for the rise and for the success of IS . Those love fest did not originate yesterday or in some unknown territory that Obama was left clueless with no capacity to understand . His mea culpa is nothing but exercise in sophistry . This is not new. He has used same linguistic kinetics and has minted words for same purpose that is to confuse the antiwar and jell with pro war party . That’s what he did in regard to his vague opposition to Iraq war and nasty embrace of all other wars plus starting a few on his own.

    If Obama were honest he should have visited the Redirection article in NewYorker by Sy Hersh written in 2007 . Just as they ( US administration) did in 1979 knowing fully that they were using fanatics to screw Soviet,they did again in 2007 same stuff to screw Iran fully undersanding that they were creating new version of Al Quida .
    It was not new knowledge to have in 2016 or 2014 . That knowledge of unleashing the Wahabis Fanatics Fundamentalists were well known to the strategists and the planners of each and very Middle East wars since 2003 and to each and very persons who listened to vetted experts on Middle East But they listened to their own wet thoughts and heard the voice of reason and hope . They listened to anointed experts and experts manufactured on the spots by WSJ,FOX AEI PNAC and NYT .

    US should have known much more and would have anticipated a redux of its previous subterfuge and conspiratorial activities and black ops ,having done it umpteenth times before . US was the ringleader who transported Jihadist from Pakistan,Libya,Kabul Saudis to Azerbaizan in 1990 to topple 1st President of Azerbaizan . It did same in 1980 . So what is freaking new here ?

    US has been allowing Saudis to kill and oppress citizen of Bahrain and Yemen . It is selling them billions dollars worth of ammunition and killer machine . It is doing same to Qatar and Kuwait . It is taking sides in Yemen and Baharin war .
    ,Obma can veto it could have vetoed it could have made this an election issue . No he did not .
    He could have exposed them in current election cycle while stumping for Hillary He could have made America aware of the grave injustice grave threat grave wrongdoings that are evident in allowing multilayered ISIS conspiracies in the calculation of the military industrial complex and desert based camel-shade ,between tyrnat despotic kingdom and proft seeking military rstablishemnt ,between careerist and office seeking politicians and the dynastic rulers .

    America has prospered and so have it’s leaders by doing things there forbidden by American law and disavowed day and nights in daily American chores and routines at home ,in market ,at school, In college ,in churches, in media in history books .

    He knows how to shed crocodile tears and pontificate . That’s what he did in 2007 to get into WH Thats what he would be doing with Biden and Kerry to get into post WH pastures of new opportunities .
    Blame other and best if you could blame a hated entity also known as ally and moderate in the exceptional manifest dictionary .

    There is also this undercurrent of tension and hatred between US and Saudis . Saudis are US’s Bitch and Bastards One day they could be sent to gallows and gulliotine when the time is appropriate. This narrative of head -chopping woman -enslaving democracy -subverting,Washington- corrupting that are part and parcel ,intrinsic and hard wired in any refernce to Saudis and Qataris would serve the next Pharaoh on in White House very well . Despite doing the American bidding and despite slowly undermining their own future , I have never heard good things about Pakistan, Saudis or Qataris ever being told on CNNor FOX or WSJ . Those stupidest people better learn fast Otherwise they would face the fate of Ghaddafi ,Osama Noreiga and Saddam.

    • Replies: @Yep
  4. Look, all of this is really simple and Pepe Escobar unlocked the doors of understanding long ago:

    (1) the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so forth, want to attack Iran; (2) No war with Iran is strategically and tactically possible without a Syria in shambles or under control by the same US. Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.

    Got it?

    Anyone who has seriously studied the history of the Middle East since World War II will tell you that during most, if not all of that time, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been working hand-in-hand under the table, though neither would like it well known. They still are. At times the United States is the middle man (as in the war against the Afghans and their Soviet allies), at times not.

    Israel, particularly, would be threatened by a Syria unsubdued or undestroyed before any attack on Iran.

    All the parties mentioned know all this as do the Russians and the Iranians.

    None of these anti-Assad factions have any qualms about creating and supplying ISIS to do the dirty work in Syria, and there is much public comment on that subject from the parties themselves if one looks closely.

    All the rest is shadow play.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Smith
  5. {US Allies Are Funding Isis – and Hillary Clinton Knew All Along}

    All the weapons of mass destruction that Saudi Arabia is using against innocent children and
    women in Yemen, Syria was signed by Clinton as ‘secretary of state’ with Obama, the first black ‘president’ blessing. Saudi Arabia is a COLONY and the wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere are designed by Israel/US against Muslims with the American dummies’ cooperation and blessing.

    The US/Israel designed 9/11 to bring dummies on board, to kill Muslims and steal their resources, and to change the map of the region for the interest of criminal Zionist tribe according to Oded Yinon. Chomsky knows that very well but he deceives the public spreading the stupid slogan ‘ no blood for oil’. No jewish blood was shed, only Muslims are the victim of this savage design.

    The Zionist ‘public intellectuals’ and the jewish neocons, deceiving the public by manipulating dummies to vote for their servant, Clinton.

    She is involved in killing Muslims for the last 30 years. She has destroyed Sudan, Somalia, East European countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. She is responsible for sanction against Iran-Iraq where killed thousands of children. She also knew about Israel’s killing of Iranian scientists.

    She is servant of Zionist criminal tribe including Soros and Saban. Last time Soros selected Obama a Zionist stooge by manipulating the black votes. This time he has selected a criminal female to bring dumb pussy on board. There is NO election, only SELECTION with the cooperation of ignorant Americans.

    Vote Hillary Clinton’s bloody hands DOWN.

  6. {the sexual antics of Donald Trump is preventing much attention being given to the latest batch of leaked emails to and from Hillary Clinton.}

    First of all Trump is NOT behind the criminal pussy. They have a plan to steal the presidency from Trump by fraud, lies and deception. the criminal media, has a mission to spread all FAKE polls to deceive American dummies that Trump is loosing, to influence people who are determined to vote against the criminal pussy.

    Second: Wikileaks is an agent of Soros, the Zionist criminal who is determined to change the outcome.
    Third: The content’s of ‘leaked’ materials material is known to majority of people long time ago. Now Assange and Soros wants to get dummies’ trust by ‘leaking’ some information.

    The “The memo says: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.” and more known to majority of people. It was YOU as an embedded ‘journalist’ who refuse to talk about it to protect the US/Israel/Britain crimes against humanity. Saudi Arabia, Qatar are COLONIES and do not wage wars. These terrorist groups are constructed by US-Israel-Britain and US colonies, are forced to fund it. What is the interest of Qataris and Saudis in waging wars? It is your master’s designed that requires destabilization, massacres and partition to change the map of the region to serve the interest of the criminal West, according to Oded Yinon, by erecting ‘greater israel’ dummies.

    How many years the people who writing comments told YOU that ISIS is American/Israel/Britain army and they are funded, but you REFUSE to write about it. We don’t need the organ of Soros, Wikileaks, to tell us half of the facts to get the TRUST of public so they can manipulate dummies at the critical time.

    Today, US-Israel-Britain are not fighting against the ISIS, rather against Assad to erect ‘kurdistan’ for ‘greater israel’ where neither YOU nor WIKILEAKS talk about it. Why?
    Are you waiting for agent of Soros to ‘leak’ its secret?

    {Iraqi and Kurdish leaders said that they did not believe a word of it, claiming privately that Isis was blackmailing the Gulf states by threatening violence on their territory unless they paid up.}

    Why do you give quote from the kurds? We don’t trust the embedded journalists who are pretending that do not know t the Kurds are US/Israel pawns.

    The kurds = ISIS = Israel = US = Britain

    • Replies: @El Dato
  7. Rehmat says:

    It’s not only Saudi Arabia – but the US, Israel, Turkey, UK, and France are all funding ISIS.

    Chris Hedges, American columnist, author of 14 books and former correspondent with the Jew York Times, has been banned to speak at the University of Pennsylvania for calling ISIS = New Israel in a column published by the ‘Truthdig’ news website on December 15, 2014.

    “ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its quest for an ethnically pure Sunni state mirrors the quest for a Jewish state eventually carved out of Palestine in 1948. Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel. Antagonistic ISIS and Israeli states, infected by religious fundamentalism, would be irreconcilable neighbors. This is a recipe for apocalyptic warfare. We provided the ingredients,” Hedges said.

  8. El Dato says:
    @No Second Israel

    The only thing you don’t mentions is Turkey’s over support of ISIS. How come.

    Operatta dictator Erdogan has put Turkey on nice long road of getting bombed by ISIS. Good job.

    The kurds = ISIS

    Chillums, Time for meds.

    • Replies: @No Second Israel
  9. @E. A. Costa

    I agree.

    That’s why Iran is going to keep pumping troops into Syria. Russia will also match the US tit-for-tat. It’ll be interesting to see what China does in the coming weeks.

    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
  10. El Dato says:

    Obam is clearly irritated that foreign policy orthodoxy compels him to treat Saudi Arabia as an ally.

    Yah well. How about some prescription of manuppium®.

    Hillary Clinton should be very vulnerable over the failings of US foreign policy during the years she was Secretary of State. But, such is the crudity of Trump’s demagoguery, she has never had to answer for it. Republican challenges have focussed on issues – the death of the US ambassador in Benghazi in 2012 and the final US military withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 – for which she was not responsible.

    Should have focused on the destruction of Lybia for “hummanitarian” reasons instead. But everybody was on board for that. The “withdrawal from Iraq” show of dumbfuck demagoguery was just that: for show. The Iraqis told the US to get out. So that’s that.

    I still don’t know what the 9/11-commemorative Benghazi hit was actually about and why it got smokescreened so much. Likey that State Department was engaged into shipping Ghaddafi’s armory to their newly found Nusra buddies, which not everyone should know about.

  11. “An earlier WikiLeaks release of a State Department cable sent under her name in December 2009 states that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan].”

    The Taliban, who continue to kill American GIs in Afghanistan?

    I suggest the families of the fallen sue Saudi Arabia for compensation for their terrorism sponsorship.

  12. @El Dato

    You are right. Turkey has been complicit in US-Israel-Britain crime and is the Trojan horse of the criminals in Washington. But Turkey had a good relation with both Libya and Syria before the massacre of Libyan and Syrian by the criminal West.

    Erdugan joined the criminal plan to have some control over the traitor kurds, Israel and US spies against the population of the region, since the majority of the world population knewthe criminal West are waging proxy wars to erect kudistan – to partition many countries in the region including Turkey.

    They should destabilize and partition US by forming a united front against the criminals in Washington.
    Russia, China, India, Turkey and the rest of the empire’s victim must act today against the mass murderers and baby killers.

  13. Marcus says:

    The US doesn’t want to “defeat terrorism” and never has, read Robert Baer’s books

  14. @Anonymous Smith

    China is already involved in Syria and supporting Russia and Syria both, so far in a non-combatant role. It almost goes without saying that they have long memories, in this case reaching back to the US bombing of the Chinese embassy, which was quite clearly deliberate, during NATO’s criminal attack on Yugoslavia. It is no surprise that Putin pointed to the US and NATO treatment of Serbia as the ultimate origin of the present conflicts. The long run is also simple–both Russia and China, as well as the Syrians, will be quite pleased with Chinese investment and involvement in rebuilding Syria.

  15. @E. A. Costa

    I wish I could share your vision of a rebuilt Syria…Unfortunately, I don’t think this thing is going to go well, at all. I think we’re going to be moving into the shooting phase of WW3 in the very near future.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Obama knew too

  17. @E. A. Costa

    Some years ago the Russians did an elaborate study of who might, as a nation, survive a nuclear war. The conclusion: (1) not the United States; (2) possibly but not certainly Russia; (3) very probably, almost certainly, China. So, one supposes with tongue only partly in cheek, China will rebuild Syria.

  18. Yep says:

    Nice piece. Just goes to prove once again that there is no money in solutions.

  19. Vendetta says:
    @Anonymous Smith

    Didn’t though. I watched Syria news closely due to making friends with some pro-Assad Syrians in Damascus.

    ISIS was around and referred to now and then before it captured Mosul, but before it did it was indeed treated as the “JV” team. Jabhat al-Nusra was the one that drew the most fear and attention prior to Mosul.

  20. Agent76 says:

    ~Hillary Clinton Admits the U-S- Government Created al-Qaeda~

    And the Soviet Union went broke in part because of their war against Afganistan.
    Oil and opium anyone?

  21. Malon says:

    The whole government is established by Wall Street. The newest leaks show that they – 1 month before Obama was ELECTED in 2008 – Michael Froman mailed to John Podesta and passed him the lists of the selected candidates for cabinet and secretaries. Froman at this time was a senior of Citigroup, one of
    the biggest and most infuential banking syndicates of Wall Street. They later met and arranged the details.

    Nearly the whole Obama-Administration was assembled according to the explicit wishes of Wall Street. Obama in early 2009 appointed Timothy Geithner, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Robert Gates, Arne Duncan, Eric Shinseki, Kathleen Sebelius and Rahm Emanuel – each and everbody of them on the Wall Street wish list.

    The election had been finanzed by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase,
    Citigroup, UBS, Google and Microsoft.

    “So now Hillary Clinton’s campaign team considered naming Bill Gates or Melinda Gates as her nominee for vice president.” Podesta already performed pre-selections: “Five Hispanic men, seven white men, seven black men, three former high-ranking military officers, nine rich people and seven white women senators.” At the very bottom: Bernie Sanders.

    The list was dated March 17.

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