Sunday, March 4, 2007

"... or you are with the terrorists." Part I

From the 9/11 Commission Report (the numbers, which I have placed into brackets, are footnotes to the report):

Having issued directives to guide his administration's preparations for war, on Thursday, September 20, President Bush addressed the nation before a joint session of Congress. "Tonight," he said, "we are a country awakened to danger." [80] The President blamed al Qaeda for 9/11 and the 1998 embassy bombings and, for the first time, declared that al Qaeda was "responsible for bombing the USS Cole." [81] He reiterated the ultimatum that had already been conveyed privately. "The Taliban must act, and act immediately," he said. "They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate." [82] The President added that America's quarrel was not with Islam: "The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them." Other regimes faced hard choices, he pointed out: "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

From AL-QAEDA'S RESURGENCE, Part 1: Ready to take on the world at Asia Times Online:

Deal with the devil
Before the "Mother of all Battles", the Gulf War of 1991, bin Laden offered to help the Saudi monarchy fight Saddam Hussein's forces in Kuwait. The Saudi royalty ignored the offer and opted instead for US military assistance. The presence of these troops in the land of the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina inflamed bin Laden, and he split with the Saudi royalty.

Nevertheless, the growing influence of Shi'ite Iran in the Middle East, especially in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003 and Lebanon, concerned al-Qaeda and the anti-Shi'ite Salafi Saudi oligarchs, which included the royal family, scholars, tribes and the state apparatus.

In this environment, a speech by bin Laden was aired on Al-Jazeera television in which he called the Saudi monarchy extremely corrupt, the most contemptuous aspect of which was its alliance with US interests. Having said that, he asked the Saudi monarchy to step aside, saying that the mujahideen did not at that stage want to confront it. Rather, the Saudis should leave al-Qaeda alone to fight against Americans in Iraq.

First of all, what is striking to me is the title of this section of the article. I have a post that analyzes the historical interaction of the Saudi Royal Family with those who preach hatred and terror. My post came out before this article, and I am quite confident the author of this article hasn't read my little blog.

That means that different people, analyzing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its connection to terrorism, not only come to similar conclusions, but go so far as to describe what they see with the same expression: "Deal with the Devil".

"[Bin Laden] asked the Saudi monarchy to step aside, saying that the mujahideen did not at that stage want to confront it."

The terrorists want Saudi Arabia to allow them to battle the infidels first; later on, they'll come back to deal with the apostates and the takfir.

The speech was, in fact, the beginning of dialogue between al-Qaeda and the Saudi royal family through various Muslim scholars at numerous places in the Middle East. Eventually, the Saudis agreed to turn a blind eye to Maaskar al-Battar (al-Qaeda's training camp) in Saudi Arabia on condition that the fighters would not carry out any operations in Saudi Arabia and go straight to Iraq.

And the Saudis happily went along with it. They will keep selling oil to America and everyone else, and channeling their petrodollars to fuel the hateful fires of terrorism, provided that their own goose doesn't get cooked just yet.

The contact Asia Times Online spoke to said that al-Qaeda is so powerful in Saudi Arabia that the monarchy had no choice but to strike a deal. Similarly, it was al-Qaeda's choice, he said, that it concentrate this year on Iraq.

The way that al-Qaeda sees it, it will consolidate in Iraq to the extent that it and the "coalition of the willing" have their respective and identified occupied areas from which to fight each other.

Al Qaeda isn't even timid about this.

The Saudi front is thus only deferred until al-Qaeda gains sufficient ground in Iraq.

This was foreseeable when Wahhab worked his deal with ibn Saud three centuries ago.

The "arrangement" between al-Qaeda and the Saudis reveals a diplomatic double-step by Saudi Arabia, which Washington considers an important ally in the "war on terror" and in helping establish a Sunni front against rising Shi'ite power in the region, led by Iran.

So, wait a minute. Is Saudi Arabia doing this behind Washington's back, and Bush doesn't know?

That could be believable, considering the quality of intelligence support he has supposedly been getting: it seems the dots, once connected, led Bush to Baghdad, and since then haven't been able to lead him back out.

But, maybe the American intelligence community, for all its shortcomings, is better than we give it credit for.

Maybe our analysts have connected the dots, and drawn an accurate picture, perhaps even a beautifully accurate one. Beauty, though, is in the eye of the beholder, and perhaps the Oval Office's beholder sees something different.

Perhaps he wants to see something different.

Could it be....

1) Could it be that Bush knew all along that Iraq was not connected with Al Qaeda? Could it be that the War on Terror, while a serious matter, was also a convenient excuse to get rid of Hussein?

2) Could it be that Bush miscalulated, and now finds he has a tiger by the tail in Mesopotamia?

3) Could it be that Bush views the Persian Gulf the same way Washington has for decades, seeing Iran as the greater threat to US interests?

We know Saudi Arabia has long felt threatened by Iran. We know that Saudi Arabia's Wahhabis have waged aggressive war of annihilation against Shiites, and preach such war today. Shiism is the main form of Islam practiced in Iran. No wonder the Kingdom feels threated. What if Tehran decides to get some payback?

A powerful Iran seeking nuclear weapons on one side, khawarij Al Qaeda terrorists who already have nuclear weapons on the other.... It's not just Saudi Arabia between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

Could it be that President Bush and his friends in Riyadh now see Al Qaeda as an ally that can offset growing Iranian influence in Iraq and a growing Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia?

Preparing for war
Al-Qaeda uses Maaskar al-Battar in Saudi Arabia to train youths in guerrilla warfare, including the use of SA-7 surface-to-air missiles.


In the meantime, the Maaskar al-Battar camp is preparing to send an additional 10,000 trained youths into Iraq by the middle of the year.

President Bush, you are with the Saudis, and the Saudis are with the terrorists.

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

Mr. President, are you sure there isn't a third option?

Another blogger's post related to this topic:

Worrying -- and not surprising

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