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Suspicions in Washington

I wrote recently about circumstantial evidence that was being withheld by the United States within the text of a 28-page document because it is allegedly harmful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, there remains much speculation surrounding Saudi Arabia's role in the "War on Terror" and whether or not it has invested in protecting American interests. I cannot vouch for this either way as there is no probative evidence surrounding the controversy.

Invited to the courtroom, I was asked to present, as a Saudi citizen, an Arab and a Muslim, my "circumstantial evidence" that would serve as the basis for my suspicions that the US and the West are playing a role in the production of terrorism and extremism in our region and the world at large.

Perhaps what I am saying now is quite similar to the words of the US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who accused his main competitor for the White House, Hillary Clinton, as well as the incumbent Barack Obama of creating Daesh. This does not differ completely from accusing Saudi Arabia of wrongdoing and hiding the contents of a 28-page document.

During my work as a journalist for Al-Khaleej throughout the 1990s, I found much by way of circumstantial evidence which suggested that the West and the United States in particular was encouraging extremism and the creation of terrorist Islamist groups. If you find this hard to believe, then I urge you to consider the following: the US aids Israel in igniting a level of chaos in the region and suffocating resistance, or cementing the unfavourable circumstances in the Arab region by using scare tactics to frighten the rest of the world from the status quo that can emerge out of changing the current governments, which work for the benefit of the West. What we are seeing is defined by encouraging Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to militarise the Syrian revolution or even the revival of Al-Qaeda.

In February 2012, I wrote an article in which I predicted the emergence of Al-Qaeda in Syria and pointed out that the regime was aiming for this by supporting the emergence of symbols known for their affiliation with the regime. Assad did, in fact, succeed in his goal and used an iron fist to strike against his people under the false claim that he was combatting terrorism and armed gangs rather than a peaceful protest movement asking for democracy.

Today, even the free and democratic world is hesitant about helping the Syrian people because of the way in which terrorist organisations have joined the fray and intertwined themselves with peaceful groups. The war in Syria now clearly concerns the Western powers, in that Washington and London are not concerned with bringing down the Syrian regime, but instead focus on combatting the emergence of Daesh. They are not protecting the civilians who have been bombed and killed by the regime and its allies. The people of Syria have also been subject to attacks by chemical weapons, acts which would normally require the intervention of the international community and the West.

It appears that warmongering is beneficial to those who are have crooked agendas and that the world is politically cold. In politics, many agendas are crooked, which leads us to believe that there were those in Washington and London with less than honest intentions post-9/11.

Among circumstantial evidence that took me by surprise some pertained to the case of Shaikh Omar Abdulrahman, who is currently serving time in a US prison for inciting violence. He was arrested after the first attempt to blow up New York's World Trade Centre in 1993. Two years prior to this, Sheikh Abdulrahman was granted a tourist visa to visit America even though his name was placed on a watch list by the US. What is even stranger is that this same man was wanted in Egypt and yet, despite this, he was granted a US visa; an average embassy worker in Khartoum would have known better than to grant him entry. He thus arrived in New Jersey and settled down there until US intelligence agencies issued a notice that he was no longer wanted in the country. His visa was cancelled so he applied for a Green Card residence permit and got it within weeks. Shortly after this he left the US and when he returned he was denied entry, so he applied for asylum.

This is a very strange turn of events, because this man is neither a well-known businessman nor even an articulate political activist or religious scholar with a wide following. If it were known at all that he was once affiliated with an Islamist group it would have been in Egypt. He spent time in prison there and was accused of having been involved in Sadat's assassination, but at that time the US government was not overly involved in Egyptian affairs, nor was it interested in finding out this much information about someone known to nobody. Was there someone in Washington who wanted him to stay in the United States?

I met with Omar Abdulrahman many times in New Jersey and I still remember vividly and am taken by the circumstances of our last meeting. It was in Los Angeles. I conducted a very long interview with him that was published in Al-Hayat. What I witnessed resembled an Adel Imam film about terrorism: men in short white jelbabs and women in niqabs coming and going with their children. No one really spoke to me unless they were speaking tersely; all except the shaikh, that is, who took me by surprise with his answer to the last question I asked him: How could the group justify targeting a soldier who was merely following orders to protect a bank? He was merely following orders. "He [the soldier] stands in solidarity with a government of infidels," was the reply, "so he gets the same treatment they would get." This was before Daesh and Al-Qaeda, and it was in Los Angeles. The interview was published in Al-Hayat two years ago.

There are other examples that I have experienced, like Sayed Naseer, Abu Musab Al-Suri or Abu Qatada. I have met with all of them and gathered a lot of information that is worth talking about. There are tapes and letters showing that Al-Ansar used to recruit people after Friday prayers in a London mosque; I still have some of them in my possession. The ideology found within this literature is of a Salafist Jihadi background, one that is peculiar to Europe. The Muslims who saved themselves from being influenced by this ideology are shocked to see how extreme the rhetoric was. Abu Musab tried to sue me and my fellow journalist Kamil Al-Tawil, and he won the case because we exposed his real name in a newspaper report. This, it was alleged, placed him in danger. He had called for the killing of the women and children of soldiers in the Algerian army, yet he was still allowed to travel freely between London and Madrid where he sold products that he got from Khan Al-Khalili in Egypt. All of this took place at a time when violence was escalating in Egypt, Algeria and Libya, and there was also the war in Bosnia. Why were all of these people allowed to move around with complete freedom?

As I have mentioned previously, these are merely suspicions and not cold hard facts. We have seen extremism unfold. Will it stop? According to the French newspaper Le Monde last month, the answer is no, for the simple reason that a Syrian intelligence official has exposed some worrying truths, such as the cooperation of a number of Syrian opposition groups with US intelligence agencies. This was before the rise of Daesh but it has continued thereafter. Syrian opposition groups proposed a number of ways to destroy Daesh before the extremists had been able to spread and gain power; on every occasion, though, the US hesitated and went back on the plan. "Why are the Americans not doing anything?" asked journalist Benjamin Barthes.

Perhaps my imagination has run wild a bit, but at least I have not exonerated the US administration for its lack of action. I have also told you about the 28 pages and the reasons why they remain hidden and the details behind Abdulrahman, Abu Qatada, Abu Musab and "Londonstan". I have connected the strings to Al-Qaeda, and the prisoners in Iraq, the fall of Mosul and the US work to counter the efforts of true Syrian revolutionaries. The US remains biased towards a small Kurdish group that has been accused of terrorism. One must suspect that there is an American, or at least a Western, apparatus in place that has been plotting such conspiracies, or that a US politician's knowledge of the Middle East is no more than superficial.

Translated from Alkhaleejonline.net, 13 August, 2016.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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