Israel and Saudi Arabia join hands, and not for the first time


When Obama in August 2013 refused to act on the previously established ‘red line’ (which promised US intervention in Syria once chemical weapons would be used), this cost him the fury of Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Saudis (according to other sources, Turkey) are under suspicion to have supplied gas to the Islamist resistance movement, al Nusra, in order to stage this attack. Like Israel, the Saudi royal family wants to bring down the Assad regime at any price to disrupt the ‘Shi’ite’ axis Hezbollah-Damascus-Tehran, and the US has the means to do it. 


And now oil prices are falling. This is the weapon of choice in world politics used already several times by the Saudis. In 1985, to strangle Gorbachev’s experiment to save the Soviet Union; this time to weaken Russia and Iran. For whilst there are a sufficient number of economic reasons to open the oil tap (the crisis, the need to compete with American unconventional oil sources such a shale and deep water by a low oil price), this policy is primarily motivated by geopolitical considerations.

Bringing down Assad and replace him by a Sunni regime obedient to Saudi Arabia and Turkey is the all-encompassing goal. When the uprising against Assad became dominated by radical Islamic groups, first al-Nusra and then ISIL, this goal was brought a step closer, but now Saudi Arabia must back-pedal a bit because these groups enjoy great popularity in Saudi Arabia itself, to the point where the monarchy feels threatened by it.

Hence Riyadh supports the US in its attack on ISIL. But as with Turkey, this is a support when push comes to shove, doesn’t amount to much. ISIL, which according to Patrick Cockburn in The Independent has an army of 200.000 men under arms and an area the size of Great Britain, does not have to worry about the threat from these two. Both Ankara and Riyadh first of all demand that the Americans kick out Assad. In the meantime low oil prices are causing big losses to Russia and Iran, which support Damascus; even though the Saudis have been warned by the IMF that the oil price is too low and the government deficit is mounting too much.

Israel is the silent partner of Saudi Arabia against Assad. And if the Saudis have their doubts about ISIL, not so Israel—at least if we are to believe its ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren. In an interview some time ago Oren, a close confidant of premier Netanyahu, declared that Israel no doubt would prefer the ‘moderate opposition’, but since this group hardly plays any role any longer, it would rather have a Sunni jihadist regime in Damascus than continue with Assad. Without Assad the axis Hezbollah-Tehran after all no longer functions.

Everything points to close collaboration in Syria between the intelligence services of Israel and Saudi Arabia (the Saudi intelligence service in the meantime is under the command of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, ambassador in Washington at the time of 9/11 and a friend of the Bush family). Their collaboration already booked a great success in Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is an offshoot as well) was dislodged by a military coup.

The Saudis and the Israelis together constitute a world power that has to be reckoned with, and which can make life hard for both Obama and Putin. Without the Israel lobby Obama cannot make a single move, but Putin too has a lot to fear, for instance in Chechnya, just as he is vulnerable to big business interests of expatriate Russian tycoons in Israel.

The collaboration between Israel and Saudi Arabia also casts new light on the events of 9/11—which after all have still not been explained in key respects. Few people know that the plan for a ‘War on Terror’ was launched in 1984 by Netanyahu, Israel’s ambassador to the UN at the time. This plan was worked out with US top officials and contained ALL the elements that we meanwhile know from the war that actually has come about. I have written several times about this conference because I have a copy of the edited volume with the contributions myself.

That 15 of the 19 hijackers on that fatal day were Saudis, is sufficiently known. There is also a sizeable literature on the role of Saudi Prince Bandar, but media such as CNN kept their distance from that until now—until today really. In a report on Zacarias Moussaoui, whom the US consider the brain behind 9/11, the station tells us that he has supplied two handwritten letters in which he accuses the Saudis to have financed the operation. For CNN this is quite a step to take, even though Senator Bob Graham has previously pointed the finger at Saudi Arabia.

Thirteen years after the attacks in New York and Washington links between Israel and the Saudis are emerging which retrospectively may cast light on the events of 9/11. For let nobody forget that it was in response to what happened on that day that Bush declared war, a war that continues to rage and in which our country too has been called to arms and duly ‘serves’—without any further questions.

Kees van der Pijl

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