Our Radical Islamic instigator – Saudi Arabia

middle east mapOur Radical Islamic BFF, Saudi Arabia

By Thomas L. Friedman  – New York Times

The Washington Post ran a story last week about some 200 retired generals and admirals who sent a letter to Congress “urging lawmakers to reject the Iran nuclear agreement, which they say threatens national security.” There are legitimate arguments for and against this deal, but there was one argument expressed in this story that was so dangerously wrongheaded about the real threats to America from the Middle East, it needs to be called out.

That argument was from Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, the retired former vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, who said of the nuclear accord: “What I don’t like about this is, the number one leading radical Islamic group in the world is the Iranians. They are purveyors of radical Islam throughout the region and throughout the world. And we are going to enable them to get nuclear weapons.”

Sorry, General, but the title greatest “purveyors of radical Islam” does not belong to the Iranians. Not even close. That belongs to our putative ally Saudi Arabia.  

When it comes to Iran’s involvement in terrorism, I have no illusions: I covered firsthand the 1983 suicide bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, both believed to be the handiwork of Iran’s cat’s paw, Hezbollah. Iran’s terrorism, though — vis-à-vis the U.S. — has always been of the geopolitical variety: war by other means to push the U.S. out of the region so Iran can dominate it, not us.

I support the Iran nuclear deal because it reduces the chances of Iran building a bomb for 15 years and creates the possibility that Iran’s radical religious regime can be moderated through more integration with the world.

But if you think Iran is the only source of trouble in the Middle East, you must have slept through 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam — the Sufi, moderate Sunni and Shiite versions — and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment.

It is not an accident that several thousand Saudis have joined the Islamic State or that Arab Gulf charities have sent ISIS donations. It is because all these Sunni jihadist groups — ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front — are the ideological offspring of the Wahhabism injected by Saudi Arabia into mosques and madrasas from Morocco to Pakistan to Indonesia.

And we, America, have never called them on that — because we’re addicted to their oil and addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.

“Let’s avoid hyperbole when describing one enemy or potential enemy as the greatest source of instability,” said Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, who is an expert on Islam at the Hudson Institute.

“It is an oversimplification,” he said. “While Iran has been a source of terrorism in supporting groups like Hezbollah, many American allies have been a source of terrorism by supporting Wahhabi ideology, which basically destroyed the pluralism that emerged in Islam since the 14th century, ranging from Bektashi Islam in Albania, which believes in living with other religions, to Sufi and Shiite Islam.

“The last few decades have seen this attempt to homogenize Islam,” claiming “there is only one legitimate path to God,” Haqqani said. And when there is only one legitimate path, “all others are open to being killed. That has been the single most dangerous idea that has emerged in the Muslim world, and it came out of Saudi Arabia and has been embraced by others, including the government in Pakistan.”

Consider this July 16, 2014, story in The Times from Beirut: “For decades, Saudi Arabia has poured billions of its oil dollars into sympathetic Islamic organizations around the world, quietly practicing checkbook diplomacy to advance its agenda. But a trove of thousands of Saudi documents recently released by WikiLeaks reveals in surprising detail how the government’s goal in recent years was not just to spread its strict version of Sunni Islam — though that was a priority — but also to undermine its primary adversary: Shiite Iran.”

Or consider this Dec 5, 2010, report on BBC.com: “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned last year in a leaked classified memo that donors in Saudi Arabia were the ‘most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.’ She said it was ‘an ongoing challenge’ to persuade Saudi officials to treat such activity as a strategic priority. The groups funded include al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, she added.”

Saudi Arabia has been an American ally on many issues and there are moderates there who detest its religious authorities. But the fact remains that Saudi Arabia’s export of Wahhabi puritanical Islam has been one of the worst things to happen to Muslim and Arab pluralism — pluralism of religious thought, gender and education — in the last century.

Iran’s nuclear ambition is a real threat; it needs to be corralled. But don’t buy into the nonsense that it’s the only source of instability in this region.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/02/opinion/thomas-friedman-our-radical-islamic-bff-saudi-arabia.html?

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Comments

  • de castro  On September 13, 2015 at 3:39 am

    There is a saying
    Sleep with Satan and you share his dreams.

    Did not Christians execute Muslims in the name of their Christian god Jesus.

    Turn back the centurues did not Romans recognised/adopt pagan gods after
    military conquest.

    Prior to this were not most of the world tribal some barbaricly so.

    Today tribes in the jungles still practice barbarism even cannibalism in the
    name of “spirituality” Incas Aztec et al….with their human sacrifices.
    Today we can see barbarism first hand on our TV screens etc etc
    Fortunate we can also witness the “compassionate” side of humanity.
    Visa viz refugee crisis….as a result of “barbarism” WAR….COLD HOT
    WET DRY WAR…….differences religiously based.

    Have we learned anything from historical facts….. Doubt it….can we learn anything from present circumstances…..very possible.
    No one is born good or evil……if we are to survive we must have the balance right…..learn from past mistakes by not repeating history….only fools
    apply the same solution and expect different results.

    Que sera
    Kamtan

  • Winston Yaw  On September 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Well said and well thought out. This is a generalized statement but basically factually borne out by historical research. Can humanity basically change its general trend ever. Leaders of nations and makers of national policies of all political persuasions are unfortunately in the forefront of creating the changes that are necessary to effect the outcomes outlined by Mr Kamtan. World peace is and has never been the personal ambition of the national leaders of all countries of the world all at the same time

  • albert  On September 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Guys, the article is saying: ‘the title “greatest purveyors of radical Islam” does not belong to the Iranians. Not even close. That belongs to our putative ally Saudi Arabia’
    It shows how global politics work. Our friends can do no wrong. The Saudis have done more evil in the mideast than Iran…….yet Iran is referred to as the greatest threat to the world. …..dont be surprise if 9 out of every 10 American leaders are ignorant of this fact…….what about the followers they mislead.

  • de castro  On September 13, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    To quote the silliest president of USA…

    The enemy of my friend is my enemy……ISIS SAUDI?

    The enemy of my friend is my “informer”….surely.!

  • Thinker  On September 14, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Now that the West will be less dependent on energy from fossil fuels more home truths about Saudi wahibbism can be told. The more we seek renewable sources of energy the more frankly we can speak of both the intolerance of both the Sunni and the Shia. Politeness and political correctness is what keeps rational people back from noting the unscientific and irrational nature of all religion. And we dare not say that some are worse than others.

  • de castro  On September 14, 2015 at 5:30 am

    An idea is to take the good morals in religion ignoring the extremes or criticizing
    the stupid negatives.Taking aboard the good in religion ignoring the bad and ugly.

    Just an idea on way forward !

  • albert  On September 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    “Take the good morals in religion”
    Good idea. Years back in reading the bible in search of the purpose of life (after a tragic event) I came up to the section, maybe all christians know: “search and you will find, ask and it shall be given, etc”
    Years of search led me to realise religion is a man made institution and that we dont have the capability to understand whatever power or reason is behind our existence.
    There are some good ideas in religion.

  • compton de castro  On September 15, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Albert
    We all have a purpose in life.
    Recognising it and acting on it is fulfilling.
    My purpose my legacy.
    My four children six grandchildren.
    Que Sera

    • albert  On September 15, 2015 at 10:33 am

      “We all have a purpose in life”
      We all can find a purpose to live for if we choose to. What I was referring to earlier was different.
      What is the purpose OF life. For what, and by what, were we created

      • compton de castro  On September 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

        Sorry my friend
        My father and mother are in their after life……am sure they have the answers.

        My purpose OF life was decided before I was horn …..not much I can do to change that…..just live my life as if there was no tommorrow.
        Hey it’s not everlasting ….a mere century if lucky.
        Enjoy your life its later than you think……song comes to mind !

  • Wangdi  On June 5, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Koran is a falsified document by roman emperor Constantine Constantine beholds goth goth

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