Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dangerous Saudi Input Into Afghan Bloodshed

The following article by Ramtanu Maitra is in the current EIR. The British role, with Saudi money, through Hisb-ut Tahrir and others, must be broken to prevent the total break up of the region. Mike

Dangerous Saudi Input Into Afghan Bloodshed

by Ramtanu Maitra

One of the least discussed aspects in the ongoing bloodshed
in Afghanistan is the Saudi support for the foreign
terrorists who are part of al-Qaeda and the newlyformed
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistani
Taliban, who are now waging war against both
the foreign troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
When U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan to eliminate
both al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, they walked
into situation which was much more complex than
what the Bush Administration had conveyed to the
American people. It is not clear whether Washington
was fully aware of the realities on the ground, but by
moving into Afghanistan, U.S. troops had clearly run
into a hornet's nest.
To begin with, Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI), which was serving both Saudi and the
British interests, was unwilling, and has become increasingly
so, to give up the Afghan Taliban. ISI
"needs" Afghanistan as its "strategic depth" against
its "mortal enemy," India, and the Afghan Taliban
were willing to agree to the ISI's arrangement. In other
words, the ISI believed that the elimination of the
Afghan Taliban would undermine "Pakistan's interest,"
to the benefit of India.
The British interest, expressed through MI6 operations,
was to maintain various terrorist groups that
found shelter in the Afghan Taliban-dominated, and
Pakistani ISI-protected Afghanistan. These included
Uzbek separatists, Chechen terrorists, and Uighur terrorists,
among others. Britain harbors these terrorists
for a number of destructive reasons, such as breaking
up the southern flank of Russia, securing a foothold in
the oil-and-gas-rich Central Asia, and breaking up the
increasingly powerful nation of China. In addition, the
growing cooperation among Russia, China, and India,
to maintain a stable and peaceful Eurasia, is anathema
to the colonial forces within Britain; these separatist
and terrorist forces were built up and maintained as a
bulwark against such a development.
The Saudi Charade
The third force, the Saudis, has an altogether different
agenda. The Saudi objective is to organize the
Sunni sects of Islam under Wahabi doctrine and to use
them not only to dominate the Islamic world, but also
to set up a Wahabi-dominated caliphate. While the ISI
has little interest in either the British or Saudi plans,
the British like the Saudi plan because it would split
the Islamic world.
Years before Washington considered al-Qaeda a
threat, and before the Afghan Taliban emerged on the
scene, Saudi money was coming in to set up cells inside
Pakistan-the gateway to Central Asia and beyond, including
China-to preach the Wahabi form of Islam in
the countries where Muslims were considered "oppressed,"
such as in Central Asia and China. Saudi
money has also flowed into various Pakistani Sunni
jihadi cells to "rejuvenate" the Muslims in the state of
Jammu and Kashmir-a territory claimed by both Pakistan
and India.
Saudi money, however, does not flow out of the
Saudi government treasury, but from various charities.
One such charity is Al-Haramain. After Al-Haramain
figured among a number of Saudi charities accused by
Washington of financing terrorism after the Sept. 11,
2001 attacks, the foundation was closed in Saudi Arabia
in 2005. Al-Haramain was said to have received between
$45 and $50 million each year in donations, and
has spent some $300 million on humanitarian work
overseas.
However, the U.S. accusation has no effect on the
donors. The foundation and other private groups that
have been dissolved, and their international operations
and assets folded into a new body, have been named
the Saudi National Commission for Charitable Work
Abroad, which will employ all those who were working
for Al-Haramain and those charities that were
closed because of their support to terrorist groups. In
other words, the more it changed, the more it remained
the same.
The 'Al-Yamamah' Link
Where British and Saudi operations converge in the
most profound way, is through the longstanding "Al-
Yamamah" covert operations slush fund, established
through the arms-for-oil barter scheme, first negotiated
between the Thatcher government in Great Britain, and
Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, in 1985, and
still operational today. As EIR has exclusively revealed,
Al-Yamamah has generated hundreds of billions of
dollars in off-budget, offshore funds, that were one
critical source of Anglo-Saudi funding to the Afghan
mujahideen, who battled the Soviet Army in Afghanistan
throughout the 1980s. In a 2006 official biography,
Prince Bandar's ghostwriter boasted that Al-
Yamamah was a geopolitical partnership between
London and Riyadh, to "combat communism" through
the buildup of the covert funding conduit. As recently
as 2006, the funds were used to stage a number of attempted
coups d'├ętat in Africa-that had nothing to do
with fighting communism, and everything to do with
British schemes to engulf that continent in perpetual,
genocidal war. The Anglo-Saudi schemes for South
Asia are identical, and there is good reason to believe
that Al-Yamamah is an active feature of the ongoing
destabilizations.
Washington, with Blinders on
In the United States, whenever the Saudi funding
of jihadists is discussed, it is in the context of the financial
support lent to the Afghan mujahideen in the
1980s, following the Soviet Red Army's invasion of
Afghanistan. However, such support was considered
legitimate, if not altogether "patriotic," by Washington.
But long before the Soviet invasion, the Saudis
had begun to fund various Pakistani militant groups,
who had set their eyes on "liberating Kashmir" from
India.
Former Washington Post managing editor Steve
Coll, in his book Ghost Wars, pointed out that, as when
Osama bin Laden became involved with the mujahideen
resistance in Afghanistan, he also developed close
ties to the Saudi intelligence agency, the GID. There
was evidence that Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince
Turki al-Faisal played a middleman role between Saudi
intelligence and mujahideen groups. Saeed Badeeb,
Turki's chief analyst, had been one of bin Laden's
teachers when bin Laden was in high school. Badeeb
later said, "I loved Osama and considered him a good
citizen of Saudi Arabia." Coll said that while the Saudi
government denies bin Laden was ever a Saudi intelligence
agent, and the exact nature of his connections
with the GID remains murky, "it seems clear that bin
Laden did have a substantial relationship with Saudi
intelligence."
While there is no doubt that Osama bin Laden was
once a stalwart protecting "our allies," he became a
bad egg at some point. Billions of dollars in aid from
Saudi Arabia and the CIA to the Afghan mujahideen
were siphoned off by the Pakistani ISI, and began to
protect and strengthen the groups who later jelled into
what is now known as al-Qaeda. Melvin Goodman, a
CIA analyst in the 1980s, was quoted, in the May 1996
Atlantic Monthly, saying, "They [the Saudis] were
funding the wrong groups, and had little idea where the
money was going or how it was being spent."
They were the wrong groups, no doubt. But it took
"those-who-matter" many years to find that out, and a
few more years to make it public. During this period of
"I see nothing, I hear nothing, and I know nothing," a
lot of damage was done. It was "discovered" only later
that various accounts held at the notoriously corrupt
and now-defunct BCCI bank, later identified as a "drug
bank," were distributed to the ISI and the A.Q. Khan
nuclear network.
Hizb ut-Tahir-A Dirty Link in
Saudi-British Ties
Saudi funding has always benefitted those whom
British intelligence has nurtured and used. Take, for
instance, Saudi funding to spread Wahabism in Central
Asia. The funding was done through a group headquartered
in London, the Hizb ut-Tahrir. As soon the Soviet
Union collapsed and the "stan" countries (Uzbekistan,
Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan)
broke off, Saudi money poured into Pakistan to print
hundreds of thousands of copies of the Holy Koran to
be distributed in the "stan" countries through the Hizb
ut-Tahrir network. These white-robed religious individuals,
sworn to the Wahabi-form of Islam, moved in
the "stans," funded by the Saudis.
The Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD), however,
kept its eyes peeled, and at a conference of the Center
for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington,
in 1998, pointed out that Saudi Arabia was
funding a number of European departments of Hizb ut-
Tahrir. According to a staff member who spoke at the
conference, "The Saudis are still poised to play an
active role in radically Islamic movements. They have
great sums of money at their disposal, and it is difficult
to refuse the Saudi dollars."
While some might defend the right of charities to
help spread religion, the fact is that Hizb ut-Tahrir is
more than meets the eye. According to Ahmed Rashid,
a senior Pakistani journalist, "the Hizb-e Tahrir (HT),
which has growing support in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
and Kyrgyzstan reflected by the increasing number of
arrests of HT members by the internal security apparatus
of these states, operates a highly secretive cell
system which makes it difficult for the authorities to
contain their spread. They have a vision of uniting
Central Asia in an Islamic Caliphate-which would reestablish
the idealized period of Islam just after the
death of the Prophet Mohammed."
Rashid said the HT has established thousands of
five-man cells across Central Asia to achieve its aims.
It believes in peaceful change through a mass movement
against the Central Asian regimes, but does not
rule out the possibility of eventually having to take up
arms if the repression against it continues. HT claims
that it has nothing to do with the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan (IMU); a terrorist outfit involved in regime
change through violence in Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan,
and has shown up in the Chinese western province
of Xinjiang. However, many, if not all, IMU members
were former members of the HT.
Rashid pointed out that the IMU was also bankrolled
by the Afghan drug trade, Osama bin Laden, and
Islamic groups in Pakistan, along with the Arab Gulf
states. Its strength grew from some 600 fighters who
first came to Afghanistan in the Spring of 1999, to
nearly 3,000 by 2001. It recruited widely from all the
Central Asian and Caucasian ethnic groups-especially
the Chechens-as well as Uighur Muslims from
the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
What makes the Saudi funding dangerous is that it
goes to the groups who work directly for the British
colonial interest, and against Washington's interest. To
begin with, the violent movement that has sprung up
on the Pakistan side along the Pakistan-Afghanistan
border, is led by the Pakistani Taliban and the foreign
terrorists commonly identified as al-Qaeda. All these
groups were beneficiaries of Saudi charities. Now, of
course, with the millions of poppies blooming in southern
Afghanistan, money is no object. It is plentiful.
The Pakistani Taliban, aided by the ISI and MI6,
are involved in an effort to break up Pakistan and create
an independent state, which may later blossom into a
"Greater Pushtunistan," to fragment the area further
and deepen the conflicts. This would be welcomed by
the colonial forces in Britain.
Saudi charities have also helped the anti-Beijing
Uighurs. Reports indicate that the Uighur Diaspora,
based in Turkey, is beneficiary of Saudi grants. The
Aug. 4 terrorist act which killed 16 Chinese policemen
in Kashgar in Xinjiang, was orchestrated by the Uighurs
and IMU members, coming into China from the
Tajik borders.
This blatant terrorist act was repudiated by almost
all nations, but not by Britain. An editorial in the Financial
Times of London on Aug. 6, made clear colonial
Britain's intent. It said that both the Uighurs, and
the Tibetans, are citizens of independent nations subjugated
by the Chinese. Calling for a break-up of China,
the editorial said: "Their restiveness is a flickering if
forlorn hope that something like the break-up of the
Soviet Union might happen to China. . . . But if Beijing
continues its bulldozer approach to minorities and robs
the Uighurs of their identity, it would incite jihadism..."
Not even Al-Haramain could say it better!


Michael Billington
Asia Desk
Executive Intelligence Review
703-431-3374

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