Wednesday, December 10, 2014


MORE WINDS OF CHANGE AND ISOLATION OF ERDOGAN:  Ghassan Kadi/Intibah Wakeup/Abdel Bari Atwan  December 2014
10 December 2014
Ghassan Kadi

Below is an extract of Abdel-Bari Atwan’s article in Ra’i Al-Youm and which was published on Tuesday the 9th of December 2014. It was translated/interpreted by Intibah and myself.
Briefly, the recent GCC Summit has coerced Qatar back into its regional position and distancing itself from Turkey. The schism between the Gulf states had been very prominent and a few months ago the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE left Qatar in protest of the on-going Qatari role in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and undermining the Egyptian President Al-Sisi.

The points of the article below speak for themselves, but what the article did not touch on to was the impact of this summit on Turkey given all the recent developments in and around Anatolia.

Erdogan found himself confronting major unexpected events in the last few months. To begin with, his partnership with Qatar (mainly) to topple the Syrian Government has failed abysmally. The rise of ISIS and the American pressure has put him in a state of utter dismay with his big ally, especially that the USA has been pushing the Kurdish card. This left Erdogan very unimpressed. And as if this was not enough, Vice President Biden blamed Turkey for the rise of ISIS and even though he apologized later on, the words cannot be retracted. It is possible now that the GCC summit will drive the last nail in the coffin of the Turkish-Qatari relationship.

Then came Turkey’s windfall from the collapse of the Southstream project and moving it to Turkey.

Whilst the summit does not dictate that Qatar and Turkey should no longer work together against Syria, but Turkey did not have its say as yet. It is not only for Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states to dictate to Erdogan what to do.

Ironically also, the EU is suddenly now luring Turkey to join after snubbing it for decades. Turkey no longer needs the EU. Its economy is in a much better shape than most EU states and the gas deal with Russia has linked the economies of the two countries in a manner that excludes the EU.

How will Erdogan deal with all of these changes around him? Snubbed by the EU until now, let down by the USA and dumped by Qatar.

Will Erdogan finally see the light and realize the horror of his anti-Syrian stand? Will he do a U-turn? Only time will tell, but there is one thing that we can know for sure, and that there are going to be some serious changes in the very near future.

A Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Summit of Tuesday 9th of December 2014, was the shortest of their meetings in history and it only took two hours. It was restricted to three main speeches, the first was given by the host, Prince of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad, and the second by Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad, Prince of Kuwait and the third by Abdel-Latif al Ziyani, the GCC General Secretary.

The significance of this short summit lay in the game-changing decisions it reached and putting Qatar back on the road map by flagrantly decreeing that the GCC unconditionally supports Egyptian President Al-Sisi, thus removing the major stumbling blocked that was facing a GCC reconciliation.

The summit reached a number of commitments and changes which include the following main ones;

1. That Qatar totally abandons supporting the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), politically, financially and with their media support. This includes thwarting first and second tier leaders who live in Doha and coercing them to stop all hostile political activities towards the Egyptian government and, on top of that list is Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the leader of the Union of Islamic Clerics;

2. Implementing a major change in the nature of the coverage of programs of Al Jazeera, particularly those related to an anti- Al-Sisi stance and to adopt a similar approach to its competitor network Al Arabiya;

3. To offer financial support and release funds that were meant to be sent to the Egyptian treasury. It is worthy here to note that Qatar has donated more than 10 billion dollars to the Egyptian government during the short presidency of Mohammed Morsi which the new Egyptian government returned to Qatar as a gesture of protest;

4. That Qatar would leave, partially or totally, its alliance with Turkey and its President Erdogan, especially in relation to the Egyptian and Libyan files, with the possibility of retaining the portfolio relating to Syria and which centres around toppling President Assad. Both Turkey and Qatar had previously supported the MB’s in Egypt and the Islamists in Libya.

This change in the Qatari position is neither surprising nor sudden. All of its details were agreed upon in the special Riyadh summit last month in which Saudi King Abdallah clearly stated that supporting Al-Sisi is the prime condition to hold the Doha summit with everyone’s participation and the return of the three Ambassadors to Qatar (Saudi, UAE and Bahrain).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


A very interesting analysis by Tarek Tarshishi which was published today (11/11/2014) on Al-Joumhouria (a Lebanese daily). It centres on a possible new pivotal role that the Iraqi diplomacy might be able to play in the very near future.
The post-Saddam Iraq is closer to its neighbours than most of them are to each other. It has good relations with Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and working on thawing the recent freeze with Saudi Arabia. Last but not least, it is also close to the United States. This puts it in a unique regional position, one that it can use as a broker and a mediator. The author examines those scenarios.
The article ends up on a very positive note that is based on the recent Lebanese Army takeover of the city of Tripoli and the ousting of ISIS sympathisers from Lebanon's second largest city and the entire Northern Lebanon.
Changes within Complex Crises; Iraq’s Emerging Mediator Role.
Al Joumhouriya.
By Tarek Tarshishi  11/11/2014
Translated By Ghassan Kadi and Intibah Wakeup
Observers are watching with interest the new direction the Iraq government is taking towards two states that it was only recently still accusing of backing terrorist organisations within Mesopotamia.

Those observers are wondering what the real reasons are behind the recent visit of the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Dr Ibrahim Jaafari, to Turkey and the huge reception he received. They wonder if this reception was based on economics in which Turkey seeks an open trade channel for its goods and products to Arabia and the Gulf and where it can remain open with Iraq providing the logistics for this route, thereby bolstering the Turkish economy at a time when its future seems uncertain.

Or, was this visit and reception the result of political interests reflecting the Turkish wish to stifle the project of an independent Kurdistan based in Northern Iraq, expanding westwards towards Turkey and Syria, given that both countries have common concerns regarding this project?

Or, was this visit related to oil supplies to Turkey and the construction of gas pipes from Iraq and the Gulf leading to the Turkish ports on the Mediterranean? And, last but not least, was it about reviewing the strategies that have been imposed upon Turkey in view of the recent developments in Syria and the recent attack of the international alliance on ISIS and Al Nusra and the Turkish embarrassment that followed?

The observers are also asking; will Iraq, with its close ties with Iran and Turkey, enable Turkish President Erdogan to review his position towards the Syrian crisis and offer him a bridge? Or does Iraq simply want Turkey to stop supporting the armed as well as unarmed opposition to its new government?

Obviously, what is going to make Turkey’s need for Iraq exceed Iraq’s need for Turkey is the current visit of the Iraqi President, Fouad Maasoum, to Riyadh at a time when competition between Saudi Arabia and Turkey for the Sunni leadership in the region is at its highest. This competition is seen most clearly in the insistence of the Turkish and Qatari funded Jabhat al Nusra to liquidate all Islamist organisations that are sponsored by Riyadh in the Idlib and Aleppo regions.

The expected Saudi reception to the Iraqi President draws a lot of interest least of which, due to the recent declaration of the Iraqi President, that the way to confront ISIS starts with overcoming the differences and political divisions in Iraq; issues in which Saudi Arabia can play a big role in overcoming.

The Sunni and Kurdish Iraqi President, Maasoum, is going to Riyadh to establish a new relationship between Baghdad and the land of the holy Islamic shrines. This relationship will have positive repercussions on the Sunni-Shia relationships on the one hand and, on the other hand, of the relationship between Saudi Arabia with Iran and Syria.

The easing of the Saudi – Iraqi relationship, as seen by the observers, will take the relationships between Riyadh and Damascus half way, and, it will also open some pathways between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. This development in the Saudi – Iraqi relationship cannot be looked at in isolation from the trilateral talks between American Foreign Secretary, Kerry, and his Iranian and EU counterparts, Jawad Zarif and Catherine Ashton in Oman. According to expectations, these talks are going to pave way for significant steps to resolve the Western-Iranian nuclear impasse despite the doubts of the non-enthusiastic hawks.

From this perspective, many read in Obama’s letter to the Spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, a tacit assurance to hawkish Iranians that a deal with Washington will not be at the expense of Iran and that, in fact, it could lead to several economic and political easing that will give Iran a bigger role regionally and internationally.

This letter also forms the foundation to clarify that America’s revision of the Syrian crisis clearly indicates that its priorities now are fighting ISIS and similar organisations and not toppling Bashar al Assad.

These developments coincide with Western and Arabic reports that speak of the bilateral Russo-Egyptian role in facilitating a diplomatic solution in Syria which starts with a cease-fire in the hot regions in the north and the south of the country alike, all the way through the Homs region which was recently visited by the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura , during which he met with the Homs Province governor Talal al Barazi as well as representatives of the opposition in an attempt to find a resolution for the fighters in Hai Alwar, in line with what has happened to other fighters in the old city of Homs earlier on.

The observers see that the flurry of diplomatic activities between the regional capitals and the rest of the world will result in the easing of many complex crises including the Syrian crisis. This includes moving towards a resolution that retains the presidency of Assad and allows keeping the doors open for an opposition that has not been involved in bloodshed in order that they participate in a national conciliation government.

To this effect, the information points to Moscow and Cairo working in conjunction to foster and promote a Syrian opposition entity headed by the previous president of the Syrian National Council, Ahmad Mouaz al Khatib. Al Khatib is accepted by Washington as a representative of the moderate opposition and one with whom the government is prepared to debate with in order to finalise the conciliation process which has thus far included 43 geographical areas.

Is it possible now to say that Iraq’s political move towards Ankara and Riyadh is changing its status from a playground to a player in the regions’ conflict? Has the international, regional and Arabic community conceded that Assad will stay as a President, changing the priorities instead to fighting terrorism? This was the priority that the official Syrian delegation took to Geneva II whilst the opposition, on the other hand at that time, was prioritizing forming an interim government, one that Lebanese leader Walid Jumblatt predicted President Assad would remain the leader of.

As for ISIS, it seems to be another story altogether. All indications from reports emerging from Syrian Ain al Arab (Kobani) all the way to the Iraqi town of Biji, indicate that the Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has been injured in a recent air strike. Before that, the recent developments in Tripoli and the rest of Northern Lebanon all indicate that ISIS has entered the countdown phase (that will mark its end).

Sunday, November 9, 2014


By Ghassan Kadi
9 November 2014

American foreign policy makers have the history of creating a boogie man and a saviour in every corner of the world where they intervene. Up until Obama declared that there will be no more American boots on the ground, the saviour has been the American GI, who paid for their lives by the tens of thousands fighting needlessly in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. With Obama’s declaration, the saviour has to be a local; that it unless the new GOP-dominated Congress decrees otherwise and pushes for a resurrection of the boots-on-the-ground resolution.

But assuming that America sticks to its Obama policy and continues its pursuit to arm “moderate Syrian rebels”, many questions have been asked about who are indeed those rebels?

Analysts who want to push the band-wagon of an on-going unbreakable ISIS-American coalition call it a bluff. They argue that America is planning to arm ISIS instead of fighting it. Facts on the ground and in the conflict dynamics indicate otherwise. The rift between ISIS on one hand, and the Americans and their Saudi allies on the other hand is too obvious to be ignored. The rush of ISIS to self-fund was the most significant development that enabled ISIS to break away and chase up its own agenda and interests after the failure of plan-Bandar.

So who are the “moderate Syrian rebels” America is talking about? They cannot be the FSA. The FSA is a spent force and its recruitment drive is virtually non-existent. Not even high salaries can lure in enough fighters in a manner that can counter balance the huge recruitment drive that is fueled by the ISIS theology.

Private contractors such as Blackwater are very expensive and do not offer long-term solutions.
This leaves two feasible options. It is either that American politicians are regurgitating sheer nonsense simply for media consumption in an attempt to prove that their fingers are on the pulse, or that they are planning to use the Kurds.

The term moderate fits the Kurds as the majority of them are not Islamic fundamentalists. The term Syrian can fit them if borders are stretched slightly. All they need is some attraction to turn them into rebels who can serve America’s interests. And rebels they already are. Most of them are already well trained militarily and battle-hardened.

If truth were to be discussed, words should not be minced. Kurdish people are proud Levantines who have played significant role in the history of the Levant. They are part-and-parcel of the wonderful mosaic that makes the Levant what it is. They can attract a lot of sympathy, and they have indeed been the subject of many injustices in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Few conveniently fail to mention that their recent plight did not begin with Saddam. As a matter of fact, they have been massacred and bombed by the British in the 1930’s. But because they are highly divided, they neither have their collective power any more than they have loyal regional friends. In brutal honesty, they have more adversaries than allies.

After Saddam’s demise, they have managed to attain autonomy in Northern Iraq and the oil wealth was the icing on the cake. But many of their “compatriots” in Southern Turkey and Eastern Syria continue to live under squalid conditions and abject poverty.

If they get united, the Kurds can turn into a force to reckon with. Their actual number is not exactly known, but to say 30 million would perhaps be an underestimate if anything. The homeland they call Kurdistan is huge. They haven’t thus far been able to unite under a collective leadership, but an American promise of a bigger state than the current one in Iraq, a territory that eats away into Syria and Turkey may just fit the bill and do the job.

What stands in the way of such an American-Kurdish deal is Turkey. Presently, Turkey is the only regional ally of America who is refusing to lend a hand in the fight against ISIS. The reason being Turkey’s fear of Kurdish power expansion inside Turkey and at its borders. Turkey would much prefer to see the Kurds get crushed by ISIS than otherwise. It has no problem with ISIS, and if it appeases ISIS, it can to some extent guarantee that home-grown Jihadists are not going to put Turkey on the terror hit list.

It is also likely that Turkey wishes to see ISIS expand as far as Mecca. An ISIS takeover of Arabia will first and foremost remove Al-Saud from the scene; Turkey’s natural religious rivals, and secondly, an ISIS-controlled Mecca will demand a Sunni army to liberate. And who else but Turkey fits the bill? Pakistan technically does, but Pakistan would not be interested and the logistics would be very difficult.

It is highly likely that Erdogan wants to reverse Turkey’s fortune and dismay of the events of last century when nearly a hundred years ago, Muslim Arabs with their British allies pushed Turkey out of Mecca. Would it not be Erdogan’s sweetest revenge to see the West and Arabs together begging him to liberate Mecca?

But events may not go this far if Turkey accepts America’s plan of arming and training Kurdish fighters to fight ISIS instead. In reality however, Erdogan will never accept a Kurdish state that prunes away a big chunk of Turkey.

Such an impasse can be resolved by one of two ways; either by having an undercover deal in which Turkey and America both agree that the promise of a bigger Kurdish state is going to be deceptive, or by Erdogan accepting the deal as an interim measure so as to appease America, and then pounce at the Kurds when the timing become suitable. That said, Erdogan may not need to lift a finger, because rival Kurdish leaders can be swayed to fight over the bounty they get. The divisions can be brought to the surface resulting in more infighting and bloodshed. This has happened to them a few times in history.

Either way, the Kurds are tipped to lose. The Kurds have been the subject of many deceptions, massacres and atrocities in the past and if they fall into this American trap, it won’t only be for their detriment, but also for the detriment of the entire region. So far, Syrian Kurds have played an honourable and significant role supporting the Syrian government and army, but given the volatility in policy making, this can change.

If and when the Kurds become THE declared “moderate Syrian rebels”, much attention will be needed to see whether or not they will unite under the lures and misgivings of the USA. The wisdom of Kurdish leaders will then be put to the biggest test it had thus far confronted.

Monday, November 3, 2014

THE SYRIAN MICROCOSM: By Ghassan Kadi 2 November 2014

By Ghassan Kadi
2 November 2014

When the “War On Syria” started in 2011, Syrian patriots and their savvy international friends and supporters realized from the early beginnings that there was a huge global conspiracy against Syria.
The so-called revolution seeking reform was soon to change into a war waged by Islamist fundamentalists against all of those who oppose them, including Syrian Sunnis.

The fear back then was escalation, and escalation is not only necessarily a horizontal action in which the battle field expands to include other parties and countries. The fear was about the escalation in the theological warfare and the reach of theological recruitments.

And even though the war was being waged only in Syria, global pockets of radicalism were gazing with watchful eyes. The focus had to remain on Syria, and the untold story about Syria had to be made known and public, but in reality, Syria is simply a microcosm of the globe and its passions.

The dilemma in the Middle East is primarily a result of utter failure of institutionalised religions.

On one hand, we find the Zionists claiming to be the chosen people who have a God-given mandate to pillage, kill and steal land. Their God-promised capital is Jerusalem. They will and can argue their case in accordance with their interpretations of their holy scriptures.

On the other hand, we find Islamists who believe that the whole world should convert to Islam by the power of the sword. They too claim ownership of Al-Kuds (Jerusalem) and also manage to find words in their holy book that they interpret in a manner that supports their claims and beliefs.

And then within Islam, away from militarized fundamentalists, Sunni and Shiite theologies bicker, each claiming to be the correct one; not any different though from The Catholics and the Protestants and other Christian denominations.

And when it comes to Christianity, the West no longer calls itself the Christian World, because that would be politically incorrect. But when a Muslim community tries to build a mosque somewhere in the West, the true colours of the “natives” shine like red flags. But again, where and when permissions were granted, many such mosques have been turned into bases for teaching radicalism and even training sleeper cells.

What the world is witnessing now is the result of century upon century of institutionalized religions fighting each other and demanding that their followers see followers of other religions as enemies.

The “War On Syria” is no longer one that can be contained by Syrian efforts alone. It cannot be won by fighting the original Anti-Syrian Cocktail. Beating up the chest and the drums blaming the United States of America for “creating” ISIS is not going to take the threat of ISIS away, for the foundation of ISIS is within the core corrupt interpretations of Islam.

Even if the west stops supporting ISIS completely and permanently, and even if the organization called ISIS is completely dismantled and crushed, the corrupt and violent Islamic fundamentalism will always find new sponsors.

Syria is now the hot spot, the volcano of the world perhaps, but the whole world is heating up and simmering and getting more fragmented and radicalised like never before. And just like the globe was getting divided on nationalistic and racial divides a century ago, it is now getting divided on religious and sectarian divides, and hence the dangers cannot be under-estimated.

The fundamentalist genie is now out of the bottle, and each party is digging in its heels fully convinced that he is right and all others are wrong, and that his religion can prove it.

Fundamentalist sleeper cells are all over the world, brewing, training, and all getting poised at each other. They are not small organizations. Many of them are backed by big and rich nations. Many of them ARE big and rich nations.

The Islamic takfiris are a huge threat. Down the pipeline, they are eyeing one billion Muslim youths to recruit. Is the world ready to even contemplate the potential of an army of one billion takfiris? Such a figure cannot be reached, but if it is a potential, it cannot be overlooked either.

But to be honest and realistic, once again, the sad and sorrowful state of the globe is the results of a collective human failure that has been festering for centuries in every “religion” in every corner of the globe.

It is coming to a head very soon near you.

Some may argue that it is not religion. It is economy, oil, resources, etc… In reality however, economic conflicts that divide the world and cause wars are in essence another form of dark religion and the money-god that some people follow. For as long as some believe in the “us and them” concept, for as long as they believe that their interests are above all other interests, even if this means enslaving other nations and stealing their resources, then we would only be speaking of a slightly different face of darkness. Karl Marx was wrong. Historical Materialism does not rule the world, it only rules the ignorant greedy side of humanity in the similar manner that corrupt religion does. And if religion is the opium of people, then money is the lure for lust.

On Syrian and international levels, it will become essential to topple the Saudi regime which is based on the Wahhabi principles that are entirely founded on corrupt Islam. This will perhaps be the only guarantee to stop further official Saudi financing to the ISIS ideology. But even if/when the West realizes that it should never ever again use Islamic fundamentalism for short-term military gain, and even if the house of Al-Saud is destroyed and burned, the roots of Islamic fundamentalism will not go away because they are deeply embedded in and within false, and thus far unchallenged, core interpretations of the Quran,

If Muslim clerics truly wish to clean up the image of Islam and reveal its compassion and wisdom, they cannot continue to ignore addressing the core beliefs that underpin Islamic fundamentalism. They will have to address them.

But at the end of the day, laws, decrees and Fatwas do not make humans human. The only hope for humanity is in each and every individual fighting his/her own demons, rising above the hatred and divisions he/she have been taught, and restoring one’s humanity that is full of wonderful virtues and love.


By Ghassan Kadi
1 November 2014

Whilst there are many good reasons for the world to be concerned about the so-called Islamic terrorism, in the eyes of many, Islam is now seen as a religion of violence.

The truth of the matter is that corrupt Islam is violent but true Islam is not. For fairness to Islam, we ought to have a more honest look at other “religions” and examine their corruption and violent taint.

Judaism, in its true and pure essence, is best seen in David’s Psalms. Anyone with just an ounce of faith in his/her heart on reading the Psalms feels their awe and wonder. This is Judaism, a far cry from Zionism.

And the true Israelites are pious enlightened people who abide by their Lord and His Law. Being an Israelite is a spiritual station, not a birthright. God does not favour a race of people against another regardless of how heretic, corrupt and murderous they can be. But the Judaism upon which Zionism has been based is a dogma that has turned God into an unfair and discriminating villain.

The so-called Arab-Israeli conflict is a direct outcome of misinterpretations of the Torah. The Torah cannot be blamed for the ignorance of some Jews any more than the Quran can be blamed for the ignorance of some Muslims.

And what about Christianity, or what is left of it.

It is so ironic that the virtually thousands of different Churches and denominations never ask the question of what was Christianity in between 33 AD and 325 AD. What is even more ironic is that with all the Christian inter-faith disputes, divisions, wars and massacres, no established Church questions the decrees of the First Council of Nicaea of 325 AD.

The basic founding theology of all different Churches were set in stone on that day. It was when Roman Emperor Constantine decided to adopt Christianity and make it the religion of Rome. He summoned 318 Cardinals in what was to become known as the First Council of Nicaea. It was on that day, nearly 300 years after the “death” of Jesus that Christianity took its present form.

The form Christianity was made to take was NOT decided upon by the words of Jesus and His actions, but by what suited the personal opinions of the Cardinals at that time.

If Christians stop and think that the Christian stories which followed the “death” of Jesus were actually based on the words of ordinary men, with possible political and personal afflictions, they may start asking their Churches some serious questions.

Christians who did not unquestionably obey the outcome of this Council were persecuted in the harshest manner possible. The bloodshed in the name of Jesus went unashamedly on and on. Even now, the secular West brags about its alleged Christian values.

Neither is Israel Jewish any more than the West is Christian, so bear Islam some sympathy because Islamists are not Muslims.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Ghassan Kadi
30 October 2014
As the “War On Syria” unfolds and new chapters emerge, new scenarios of winners and losers appear on the horizon. And as the danger on Syria has not yet subsided, despite the many victories of the Syrian Army and its supporters, an optimistic analysis that is based on a Syrian victory leaves many questions unanswered as who will be the other likely winners and who will be the losers.

Without a shadow of doubt, a Syrian victory will mean a victory for Syria, its government and its people. But regionally, it will also mean a victory for Hezbollah and Iran, and globally, it will mean a victory for the “new” new world order, and specifically for Russia and its new stake in the globe.

In retrospect, all of the enemies of Syria will end up as losers, and the struggle between them now is a face-saving exercise; each trying to be the lesser loser and even possibly a de-facto winner.

At this point in time, no party within Syria’s enemies is angling for a big win as much as ISIS. They were promised by Bandar, with an American guarantee, to be handed over the affairs of the whole state of Syria to run. When that plot failed, ISIS decided to take over not only Syria, but also Iraq. A partial gain for them, that they would settle for, would be control of eastern Iraq and western Syria. How will this pan out will depend greatly on how serious is the global effort to stamp out ISIS.

America cannot end up an outright winner for as long as Russia keeps digging in its heels. A “regime change” in Syria is no longer attainable. The most opportune window for an all-out attack on Syria closed in September 2013 in the wake of the chemical weapons attack that was allegedly perpetrated by the Syrian Army. The redline that Russia drew back then has not dissipated in the sand, and the deterrence of the combined rocket power of Syria and Hezbollah against Israel in retaliation to any such attack on Syria has not wavered one bit.

America hopes that its recent “intervention” in bombing ISIS territories is going to be a game changer, but a keen and rational analysis of developments on the battle ground plus all the political posturing, clearly indicates that America has not yet decided which party to favour and which to overrun. That said, America will keep Israel’s security in its field of vision. It cannot and will not allow Israel to be showered by tens of thousands of rockets. America cannot and will not allow Israel to pay the price and be a loser, and it will therefore not engage in an all-out war against Syria.

But here is the catch, America is shuffling its own regional interests with its genuine fear of a much-stronger-and-more-far-reaching-than-Al-Qaeda ISIS, Israel’s security, Turkey’s obstinance and hidden agendas and its commitments to Al-Saud and the Gulfies. Knowing and realizing that only a miracle will see it reaching a proper balance and a win for itself and all of its allies, America will soon have to let go of some of them thereby denigrating them to the level of fateful losers.

In all likelihood, America’s sacrificial lamb will be the Saudi throne. It has already become a heavy burden and an increasingly growing embarrassment. The power broker on the ground will be Turkey. America wants to punish ISIS but needs Turkey’s help to do it, but this will mean a Kurdish upper hand and Turkey will not allow the Kurds to end up as victors. Most likely, America will give up striking ISIS and call it “mission accomplished”, in GWB style, leaving behind a mess resulting from a stealthy Turkish support to ISIS. With a surging ISIS popularity within Saudi Arabia and an ISIS controlled region to this north, it won’t take long for the House of Saud to go tumbling down.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


By Ghassan Kadi
29 October 2014

I know that I have expressed views in recent times that go against the mainstream of the mindset of many friends of Syria. As a result, I had to weather quite a bit of harsh criticism, but this will not stop me from going on. I have serious concerns about the turns of the recent events, and I humbly believe that my opinion is based on a broader-than-average exposure to different angles of the crisis in Syria. I am not forcing my views on anyone, and all I am hoping for is that my views can shed more light about the underlying issues behind the IS, as there seems to be a fair deal of misconception about what it is and who directs it, and much of this is the direct result of the confusion caused by the rather big number of Islamist organizations and sponsors.

It is easy to get bogged down in the details of which organization, the name of its leader, his association with different sponsors, why and when different leaders and the followers rebunk from one organization to another. All of those complications mask the simple reality behind what the current IS state all about.

IS is a new name, but in reality not different from its Islamic fundamentalist predecessors. The origin can be traced back in recent history to Wahhabism, but on examining the roots, it can be traced back to a very ancient fundamentalist Fukih (theology) that is based on false interpretations of the Holy Quran. Such theology is much more ancient than Wahhabism and even European settlement in America. Hence, the United States of America and the CIA cannot be held accountable for its existence.

Wahhabism adopted and sponsored such pre-existing radical views, but it did not “invent” them. The discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia meant that the Saudis were able to sponsor and finance Islamic schools that taught this perverted version of Islam. The Saudi funds were not spent only on preaching, but also on military training and setting up militia groups in different regions of the world. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the invasion was seen by Islamists as the attack of a “Kafir” (heretic nonbeliever) Communist nation on a Muslim nation. As a result, and in accordance with a Brzezinski-initiated plan, Afghanistan became a fertile ground for Jihadis, Saudi funds and American support.

At that point in time, the Islamists and the Americans found common interests. Even Bin Laden was on America’s side during this stage. This alliance however was not a permanent mark as some insist and refuse to see otherwise. The Al-Qaeda/American alliance broke up when America put boots on Saudi soil leading up to Operation Desert Storm in 1991. To Bin Laden that was a redline. To him, the Muslim Holy Land was not to be desecrated by “Salibyin” (Crusaders).

Those who were fixated on seeing Bin Laden as an American lackey, especially those who could not understand his many speeches let alone be able to listen to them, could not understand the underlying nature of the conflict that turned Al-Qaeda from an ally of the Americans to a fierce foe. In all of his speeches, which were never translated into English in their entirety, Bin Laden had one single demand from the Americans, and that was for them to leave the Islamic land in general and the Islamic Holy Land in particular.

When the Americans refused to listen to this seemingly powerless and harmless man, America was targeted, and a REAL war took place between the former allies. The American invasion of Afghanistan and specifically the Tora Bora battles were not a Hollywood action movie.

To even imagine that those were divertive actions with some sort of hidden agendas cannot be substantiated by either hardcore evidence or deep analysis. Such inaccurate conclusions are not uncommon. When people do not understand any given observation, they tend to give it many false interpretations in an attempt to explain it. We can only go back to the days when humans thought that earth was flat and examine all the explanations they gave for sunrise and sunset.

To even imagine that the Islamists (whatever name they give themselves) are grouped together and work only and solely under the direct command of the United States is wrong and dangerous. It is wrong because its underpinning ideology is a theology that is many centuries old. It is dangerous because it deflects attention from the real culprit; and the culprit is that theology and not the United States.

Afghanistan and Syria had many interesting similarities, and just like the Islamist/American alliance fell apart in Afghanistan, it fell apart in Syria; albeit for different reasons.

In a different Syrian-based scenario, the gallant Syrian Army did not allow the “War On Syria” to go according to plan. Chess pieces began to tumble and by the time prince Bandar Bin Sultan lost his position as head of Saudi intelligence, the plot to topple Syria’s government was felled and different members of the Anti-Syrian Cocktail began to find their own way to get some form of a consolation prize.

By then, the Islamists who were brought into Syria by Bandar and the USA were very weary of broken Saudi and American promises of being handed over the affairs of the Syrian state to run under Sharia law. They felt they had to break loose and this is why they targeted their first attacks on the Iraqi oil fields, Mosul banks and Iraqi Army warehouses. Having achieved this, they became able to self –finance.

It was at that stage that the Saudis and Americans realized that Islamists they have trained and supported to fight in Syria have gone solo and can now threaten both American interests and the Saudi throne. Any failure to see this with clear vision diverts attention and effort.

In the meantime, as many continue to focus on the false belief that the “War On Syria” is going according to plan and that the USA and the IS are one, the IS continues to capitalize on its victories and lure more and more recruits.

America now well knows that it was a grave mistake to believe Bandar when he assured it that he could switch the Islamists on and off at will. It knows that the danger of the current fall-out with IS exceeds by many folds the dangers of the previous fall-out with Al-Qaeda. The Americans know that they now have “common interests” with the Syrian Government, but they are too cocky to admit it publically.

America did not only lose control of the IS, but also that of Turkey. Erdogan has his own regional aspirations that are totally at odds with both his NATO allies and former allies in the Anti-Syrian Cocktail.

Some words I used recently were taken out of context. To prevent such recurrence, I have to clarify that I am not calling for collaboration with the United States. All I am saying is that Syria and the West have now common interests in having a common enemy; the IS. Normally, such shifts result in shifts in alliances, and this is a matter of policy makers.

What is most pertinent here is that fighting the IS entails nipping its ideology in the bud, where is festers within decayed and ancient fundamentalist Islamist theology. Any diversion from this focal point of attention is dangerous and can lead to disastrous consequences.

TO BE A CALIPH OR NOT TO BE A PRESIDENT. By Ghassan Kadi 25 Oct 2014

This is Erdogan's question.
25 October 2014
Ghassan Kadi

No one can say with certainty what is exactly the nature of the "difference" between the regional policies of Qatar and KSA. People often look for very complex clues and miss out the obvious. In this context, the obvious seems to be about "who has the upper hand".

Qatar is "two tents and a camel", as a colloquial Arabic proverb puts it, but it wanted to rise to prominence, a prominence that can guarantee the continuity of the ruling family. They are small and weak, and their only strength is financial. They lured/accepted to have their soil as a base to attack Iraq, because having US bases in Qatar gives it security; or so they think.

The Saudis do not want anyone to rival their religious and regional leadership, and for this reason "only" perhaps they don't like the metamorphosis of Qatar from a nothing-state to an aspiring regional leader.

Because Qatar needed strong regional allies, it went to Sunni Turkey for support.

It is hard to know exactly what Erdogan was promises, but one can guess what he really wanted. There is a general belief in Turkey, especially amongst the Islamists, that Turkey should lead and rule the Muslim World like it did before for 400 years. Erdogan wants to re-establish a Turkish Empire that includes present day Turkey, all of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, and the whole Arab Peninsula. In Arabia, he will have Mecca in the West and oil in the east.

He will promise Israel safe borders and an end to any struggle against its sovereignty. That said, he may later on turn around and try to capture Jerusalem.

When it comes to the Turkish-Qatari coalition, we cannot be sure who approached who first, but they needed each other nonetheless. Qatar needed a regional Big Brother, and Erdogan was happy to get the Qatari money.

Erdogan kept his big dreams to himself. It isn't hard to believe that he was only promised a very small prize, a token such as secure borders with Syria under new leadership. But he already had secure borders with Syria. More than likely, Erdogan must have fooled everyone to believe that he was prepared to do all what he was asked to do for virtually no or little benefit for himself. As a big Muslim leader and as a NATO member, he seemed to oblige for no clear gain, but deep down inside, he had a much bigger fish to fry.

Once again, as the Anti-Syrian Cocktail failed to topple Assad, each member went solo trying to get a consolation prize, each on his own, knowing that they are not going to get any support from the former allies.

Right now, Erdogan is happy with the stalemate around Kobani. This buys him time and the hope that he will be offered some prizes. That aside, he would much prefer ISIS to win than the Kurds. It is also easy to believe that he wishes for ISIS to expand and take over KSA. The outcome of this will be very much to his advantage. On one hand, that royal family will get out of his way, paving his personal aspirations of Islamic leadership, and secondly, if and when the world get together and decide to kick ISIS out of Arabia, only a Sunni army will be allowed to do it, and only Turkey will fit that bill, and there will be nothing more for Erdogan to wish for other than being invited by the West to invade and capture Mecca. This will be his Turkish revenge to the events of a century ago.

First published in The Syrian Revolution; The Untold Story (Facebook)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Ghassan Kadi
8 October 2014

As the once united Anti-Syrian Cocktail breaks apart, the Americans are now trying hard to save face in their attempts to be seen fighting terrorism. The gaff of the goof says it all, and for any whichever reason Biden made his anti-allies statement against Turkey and the Gulf States, and regardless how many apologies follow his statement, fact remains that the once united allies are falling apart as a result of their diverging common interests and concerns.

With or without its regional allies, America can no longer allows the IS to grow further and attain more power. It has to step in when the IS declared divorce and went for its own kill after Bandar’s failure to provide it with the Syrian throne. The Saudis on the other hand are now turning their concerns to the home front with the rising dissent to their rule and growing enormous support for the IS. Qatar’s role is waning as it gets isolated and even probably coerced into partaking in the US-led anti IS coalition.

Most of Syria’s enemies seem to be having a second take and redrawing the lines as they have been moved and misshapen by the outcome of the war on Syria and the rise of the IS. The only wild card now is Turkey.

Turkey seems to have a leg in every corner. Singling out only Syria as its enemy, Turkey has good relationships with both Israel and its arch-enemy Hamas. It supported the deposed Egyptian President Mursi and his version of Muslim Brotherhood, and despite his hostility towards the person of President Sisi, Erdogan remains popular in Egypt. Furthermore, notwithstanding its many historic incursions into Northern Iraq, Turkey somehow manages to keep rather good relationships with Iraq.
Turkey facilitated the entry of fighters and their supplies into Syria. With the recent developments in the last few weeks, Turkey did not take any measures to indicate that it was interested in joining the newly-formed US-led coalition against terror. This looks rather cynical given that countries as far as Australia have pledged support.

And even though the current Turkish government spearheads the inter-Muslim sectarian divide and fuels anti-Shiite passion, it managed to keep good relationships with Iran; something that admittedly casts a question about the willingness of Iran to reciprocate to such bond. It would be good to believe that both major regional powers are trying to work together on preventing an escalation of an all-out expanded sectarian war, but indications that Turkey continues to fuel that divide.

Furthermore, the state that was turned overnight by Ataturk from the capital of the Muslim Khilafet to a westernized secular nation that almost banned Islam, found it natural to join NATO later on. But even though Turkey is now headed by a rigid Islamist who has the aspirations of returning his nation to its former glory both as a regional power and as a super Islamic state, it is still a member of NATO. But this is not all, Turkey has good relationships with Russia.

There is little doubt that Turkey clearly sees that its Anti-Syrian allies are walking away from their joint war efforts empty-handed. Turkey however remains adamant to seek a win for itself out of the Syria war. As it wasn’t able to achieve much with its Qatari friends and co-sponsors, Turkey could well be gleefully watching the fire spreading under the hay within Saudi Arabia in the hope that the IS would remove Al-Saud from the throne. It is possible that Erdogan wishes for the IS to expand and take over Saudi Arabia. After all, an IS-based government in Arabia will round up most of the world to have it removed. Turkey’s advantage in such a scenario will arise from the sensitivity of Mecca and the Islamic Holy Land. Only Sunni Muslim soldiers will be able to have boots on the ground in Hijaz (the Western sector) and perhaps Turkey sees itself the perfect and only candidate for the task, thereby stretching its sphere of influence and control to most of the former Ottoman Empire.

Whatever Erdogan’s real intentions and aspirations are, sooner or later he will realize that he won’t be able to hold his cards close to his chest any longer. He will not be able to continue to remain silent and make advances on all fronts all at once. Somehow or another, he will have to jump. Should he decide to act militarily unilaterally, this good and balanced quote says it all:

“I could see NATO spurning Turkey's request for military intervention if Turkey unilaterally violates Syria's sovereignty. Such a probability would most certainly provoke a Syrian retaliation, and would draw Russia and Iran into the war, a scenario that NATO is unwilling and unable to sustain.” (Christopher Assad).

Monday, October 6, 2014


By Ghassan Kadi
5 October 2014

This is the final chapter in this series of short articles. Very briefly, the history of the House of Saud was exposed from its inception till this moment in time. The story is not over yet as history is still in the making.

The main focus here has been on the trilateral relationship between Al-Saud, the USA and the Jihadis. The 3 parties are highly linked, but unlike what many believe, they are not at all identical and should not be regarded as a triangle that always operates under the unconditional command of the Whitehouse. If anything, this latter perspective does not only end in misunderstanding the current situation, but also diverts attention from the real issues and how to address them.

It is hoped that some myths have been dispelled and that reader is now better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
The Saudi Dilemma:
Let us rewind a bit and remind ourselves how the House of Saud came to power.

Al-Saud rode on the back of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam. They claimed to be the only state of puritan Islam regarding states that do not enforce Islamic regulations in every single day-to-day affair and aspect to be heretic.

They forced women to cover up, banned them from driving, banned them from education until King Faisal revoked this decision to the dismay of many clerics. They established the “Jamieat Al-Amr Bi-Almaarouf”, which is primarily a consortium of hardline clerics (Moutawein, ie reformers) that roam the streets carrying canes literally lashing people and coercing them to go to prayer, lashing women if they see any visible skin and the men who accompany for allowing them to show skin. The Moutawein were given great power. No one would dare oppose them or stand up to them. They had the free mandate to cane anyone in any public forum for any reason they see fit. Even attempting to run away from their cane was an offence, a serious punishable offence.

Saudi Arabia banned alcohol. Caned Muslims if found drinking and deported non-Muslims if caught. A country without a real judicial system, the testimony of two men accusing a third of adultery was enough reason to have him beheaded without a trial.

All of such atrocities, and many others, were conducted in the name of Islam, and Al-Saud reveled in being the protectors and defenders of this form of Islam which does not tolerate any leniency at all.

Whenever the royal family ran into any political dilemma, it went and sought counsel (Fatwa) from its head Mufti and abided by his advice, all for the sake of upholding real Islam; so they claimed.
Any popular dissent within Saudi Arabia was quickly and harshly dealt with under the Sharia-approved legitimacy of the Fatwas. When the perpetrators were caught, they were described as enemies of Islam, heretics and beheaded, all with the approval and blessing of the Wahhabi clergy. Al-Saud made it look like they were under the direction of the clergy and that they were the executors not the decision makers.

When the Wahhabis established their Madsaras overseas and their brand of Islam became more and more accepted in the entire Muslim World as well as the West in areas of high Muslim density, Al-Saud found in this a great advantage to their throne. The reason being the fact that initially, the Wahhabi version was highly unacceptable in the Muslim World to the extent that it was ridiculed. Saudi Arabia felt threatened to find itself surrounded by moderate secular states, even though Sunni Islam is the predominant religion of their population.

Radicalization whirpooled Saudi Arabia into deeper radicalization.

When the War on Syria started, the Saudis were finally capitalizing on the efforts of the last few decades of radicalizing their own population as well as Muslims outside their kingdom. In the eyes of many, this was Al-Saud’s moment to walk the talk.

Al-Saud were hoping the Bandar’s failures would need lead to the Jihadists declaring divorce. But when the Jihadists went a step further and established a Khilafet (Islamic state in which the ruler, Khalif, is considered as the successor of Prophet Mohamad), Al-Saud knew well that there is no Khilafet without the control of Mecca. The declaration of Khilafet was tantamount to declaring war on Al-Saud and their throne.

Several Youtube videos pictured unknown Jihadi fighters threatening Saudi Arabia and Gulf states. These threats were not to be taken lightly.

Domestically, Jihadists have a huge amount of Saudi support; especially amongst the new generation of educated youths. After all, it was the funds and direction of their government that has created that drive for radicalization.

When Al-Saud realized that the Jihadist have declared divorce and war on their throne, they had two options; either to sit back and face the inevitable outcome or fight them.

If they took for the first option, they would most likely lose their throne. The time and opportunity for negotiating with the Jihadists had expired. On the other hand, the royals were not in a position to conjure up a Fatwa that legitimized killing Muslim fighters that have only been following the direction of Wahhabi teachings.

This was a lose-lose moment for Al-Saud. They must have pondered in length and depth about what to do next, but finally they decided to join the US-led coalition to attack the Jihadis in Iraq and Syria.
Whichever way those raids go and develop into within Syria and Iraq, they have started an avalanche of events within Saudi Arabia. Back in 1991, it was bad enough for America to invite the “Crusader Infidels” and allow them to put their boots on the ground for Bin Laden to declare war on the royals. Now, more than twenty years later, Al-Saud are actively engaged in killing Jihadi fighters along with the “Crusader Infidels”. This will not be forgiven or taken lightly.

Dissent within Saudi Arabia has never been stronger. The royals have committed an act of treason against Islam; the foundation on which their legacy and the whole kingdom is underpinned. They have crossed the line that cannot be crossed and they will not be able to find or buy any justification that will be widely accepted.

Lines are now getting drawn within Saudi Arabia between supporters of Al-Saud and fundamentalists. The Jihadis, and ISIS in particular have a huge Saudi popular support base. There are rumours about similar support within the armed forces.

No one really knows what percentage of Saudis are in favour of ISIS as against those in favour of the royals. Figures of 50-50 have been estimated by some. In the absence of proper opinion polls, no one can be certain how the Saudi population is divided, and how this division is finding its way into the power hierarchy.

How will this pan out at the end? No one knows. The Saudi royals would wish that it would go away, but it won’t. Three years ago, they were poised at creating a regime change in Syria. To even imagine that this is still on their agenda is quite laughable indeed when they have their own necks on the chopping board.

Three years ago, Al-Saud wanted to create a Civil War in Syria. For a while, they did create a huge war on Syria, but they failed in turning it into a Civil War. At this moment in time, it is highly likely that the only Civil War that they will manage to create, is the one that will burn their own throne.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part V. By Ghassan Kadi 4 Oct 2014

By Ghassan Kadi
4 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.

It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
The Second Divorce:
The successive Syrian Army wins that followed the Qusayr win in the western regions of Syria, the lack of Bandar’s ability to pull a new trick out of a hat to save and reward his Jihadists plus the unwillingness of America to pitch in militarily, all of these factors combined, left the Jihadists high and dry. They had to make their win happen for themselves independently from their suppliers and financiers.

This was the reason for the second divorce, and many analysts are missing this very crucial point and have thus become unable to understand the underlying factors behind the recent developments and the US-led raids on ISIL bases in Syria and Iraq.

For ISIS to go solo, as it were, it needed its own finance.

Israel runs on the principle of looking at obstacles in terms of force. If a certain amount of force is unable to resolve the obstacle, then more force will. In a similar manner, Saudi Arabia looks at obstacles in terms of money. Saudis believe that they can buy anything and anyone; including President Putin. They created ISIS with money, and they could suffocate it if they cut off the funds, should they need to.

No one can be certain whether or not the Saudis reduced or stopped financing ISIS, but seemingly, the latter was one step ahead. Their recent capture of key Iraqi positions, oil wells, as well as a huge stash of military hardware was a windfall that came from heaven.

Just like Bin Laden got so frustrated when the Saudis did not kick the “Crusader Infidels” from Arabia following Operation Desert Storm and went solo using his own funds and declaring divorce with the Saudis and Americans, so did ISIS following its cash stash and hardware grab in Iraq. This was the pertinent change that enabled ISIS to start acting independently, and this was when the serious rift between the main players within the Anti-Syrian Cocktail began to escalate openly.

The issue of who is Baghdadi (the declared ISIS leader) really is, and whether or not he is even real, a Hollywood fabrication, a puppet, a Mossad agent, or any of the other descriptions and theories that have floated around recently is quite irrelevant. Often, some analysts forget to keep reminding themselves that the actual Jihadi fighters are heavily indoctrinated people who are prepared to blow themselves up in the pursuit of their “divine objective”. Those fighters needed a win, and their leadership, regardless of who heads it, had to provide that win.

America was beginning to smell a rat, serious trouble long before the ISIS takeover of Mosul. The Americans initially truly believed that Bandar was able to switch the Jihadists on and off at will. American foreign policy makers are foolish, very foolish, but to actually believe that they easily accepted to deal with and support Jihadists after the Al-Qaeda experience is equally foolish. However, they received firm and iron-clad assurances from Bandar who was highly trusted and respected by his American friends. Bandar was seen by the Americans as perhaps the only Saudi royal who was rational and able to have rational discussions with them. The American understanding of the deal that included the Jihadist was pragmatic and based on the understanding that it would be very easy to rally up Sunni fundamentalist fighters in the name of Jihad against Assad. America was adamant not to put boots on the ground, and Bandar assured the American administration that there was no need at all for America to do so when he can amass hundreds of fighters, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands if needed to do the job. All they needed was funds, to which Saudi Arabia and Qatar happily obliged, Western support and a Western media charade to create false flags when needed. America could not resist the temptation.

To add to America’s concerns was its embarrassment about stories of beheading and desecrating ancient Churches in Syria before the takeover of Mosul. The viciousness of the Jihadists in Syria was no longer something that Western media could ignore. America found itself in a position in which it suddenly had to draw some lines; albeit unclear and non-realistic when the American Administration started referring to “moderate” Syrian “rebels” as against the fundamentalists. In doing so, America was not only trying to save face and to distant itself from being seen as supporting Al-Qaeda-type organizations, but it was grooming the media for a change in its tact and approach towards dealing with the Jihadists.

With the American-Jihadist history and previous experiences, a second divorce was pretty hard enough to work out the details of. Muscle and brawn were put on standby. The much more difficult divorce was the one that was about to happen between ISIS and Al-Saud.

The Saudi royals have painted themselves in a corner and they had to jump either in support of ISIS, or turn around and fight it. Either way, they would be signing off a suicide pact.
In the next chapter, we shall look at the Saudi dilemma.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


By Ghassan Kadi
4 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.

It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
The Bandar Blunder:
 Bandar thought that he had the perfect plan and the right personnel to execute it. With his position as the head of the Saudi Intelligence, the bottomless Saudi funds and the regional support of the GCC (mainly Qatar), Turkey and Israel, needless to mention the depth he can get from the muscle power of America, should need be, his plot to topple the Syrian government looked like an easy task.

Once again, and this cannot be over emphasized, the Anti-Syrian Cocktail was made up of many elements; each with its own agenda, and only united by their hatred to secular Syria and President Assad. To say and to promote the concept of an American umbrella that fully controls each and every player is a very simplistic manner of understanding the nature of what created the coalition and what ended up getting it undone.

This new cocktail was much more complex in its makeup than its trilateral predecessor that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. The new coalition included over and above the nations mentioned above, a virtually countless number of Jihadi organizations. In reality, all of those Jihadis were very similar, often swapping sides, only divided by who sponsors them; some loyal to Al-Saud and others to Al-Thani of Qatar.

The Americans wanted to control the wealth of the region and to bolster the security of Israel.

The Saudis wanted to secure the survival of the House of Saud. They regarded Iran, Syria and Hezbollah as a threat. Only able to think along sectarian lines, the Saudis were not able to understand the nature of the Axis of Resistance. They perceived it as an anti-Sunni coalition.

The fighters to make it happen were the Jihadis of different descriptions and names. They were promised the state of Syria to run as they please under Shria Law.

The Israelis wanted secure borders with both Syria and Lebanon. They wanted to topple the Syrian government and cut off the supply lines to Hezbollah as a first step towards crashing both major elements of the Axis of Resistance.

Turkey was beginning to make its regional moves after a slumber that lasted virtually for a whole century. PM Erdogan had his own dreams of restoring Turkey’s former glory as a regional power and usurper.

The coalition was joined by even little rival groups within Lebanon such as Hariri’s so-called 14th of March Coalition. They had a score to settle with both Syria and Hezbollah. They opened up the borders with Syria and formed a continuous line of supply of both fighters and ammunition into Syria. Their objective was to rid Lebanon from Hezbollah and to establish a pro-Western Lebanon.

None of the above members of this freaky Anti-Syrian Cocktail was actually Syrian.
When the war on Syria took a turn after the Syrian Army’s victory in Qusayr, Bandar began to get desperate. He wanted to achieve a military win at any cost. He met with Putin and tried to bribe him and when bribery failed, he threatened him with turning on the Chechen Jihadists and disturbing the Sochi Winter Olympics. Putin remained unfazed. He then resorted to the fabrication of the East Ghouta alleged chemical attack as a last resort to send the US crashing Damascus. Russia intervened and drew red lines and prevented the US from such a military gamble.

Before too long, Bandar’s plan failed and Bandar lost not only his cool, but also his dreams and stature. What was brewing on the horizon however was a monster that neither he nor the Americans anticipated.

The Jihadis who were looking for the prize of ruling Syria have suddenly realized that Bandar was not the man to deliver it. They felt that they were misled and abandoned by not only Bandar, but by the entire Al-Saud. To add oil to fire, when the Saudi royals realized the dismay of the Jihadis, they had to take measures to prevent them from entering Saudi Arabia. This further alienated the Jihadis from the Saudi crown.

These developments did not only impact on the relationship between the crown and the Jihadis, but it also had serious repercussions on Saudi soil.

In the next chapter, we shall look at the rise of ISIS.

Friday, October 3, 2014

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part III. By Ghassan Kadi 2 October 2014

By Ghassan Kadi. 2 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.

It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
Paternity Swap:
 When we talk about the trilateral relationship between Saudi Arabia, the Jihadists, and America, we must keep in mind that the matter is perhaps never black and white. There are many shades of grey, markings made in the sand, shifting dunes, and disappearing marks.

The events discussed in Part II of this series have put an end to the association of Bin Laden and his followers on one hand, and the Saudis and Americans on the other hand. Some analysts and conspiracy theorists doubt this fact and argue that this whole thing was a setup and a media charade. However, a realistic look at events clearly proves that the Americans did invade Afghanistan, and they did not go there to fight ghosts. They engaged in heavy battles with Al-Qaeda and the Talibans, and this is factual.

This however does not and did not mean that the Americans have severed ties with all Al-Qaeda-associated cells. Which ones remained unsevered is anyone’s guess.

What is more pertinent here is the fact that the concept of a rebirth of a new American-Saudi-Jihadist coalition was still feasible. All that was needed to make it happen again was a new enemy who united them all.

That common enemy was Syria.

This time however, many anti-Syrian players joined in and became part of the Anti-Syrian Cocktail. They all had their different agendas and scores to settle, but they were united by their hatred to secular Syria and its presidency.

This time around, the Jihadists needed a new “father” as it were. The father had to be a Muslim, someone with known and established loyalty to America, and most importantly, a sworn enemy of Syrian and her President. One man put his hand up for the job, got the approval of all involved, and his name was Prince Bandar Bin Sultan.

Unlike his predecessor Bin Laden, Bandar was a Saudi royal, and his loyalty to the throne was unquestionable. After all, he was grooming himself to be the first second generation king as thus far all Saudi kings have been the sons of King Abdul-Aziz; the founding king. The generation leap has to be done at some stage, and Bandar was hoping that who no one would better deserve to be the chosen one other than the prince who will bring victory in Syria.

Bandar was so adamant that not only his military gamble in Syria would win, but that he would also be able to control the Jihadists.

He even had the audacity to threaten Putin with the Jihadists, claiming that he was the one who was able to turn them on and off at will adding that if Putin did not comply, he would use redeploy his Chechen Jihadists within Russia.

The twist of events proved that Bandar was wrong on both counts. Firstly, his Jihadists did not have the necessary might to create a regime change in Syria, and secondly, soon enough, he has lost total control of the Jihadists that he trained and financed.
In the next chapter, we shall look at the after effects of Bandar’s loss of control.

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD Part II. By Ghassan Kadi 1 October 2014

By Ghassan Kadi. 1 October 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.

It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
The Uneasy Alliance:
It is rather simplistic and naïve to see the Saudis and their Jihadists as pawns who will unconditionally take orders from their American masters, as some insist to describe them.
Like all alliances that are based on plotters of unwholesome intentions brought together by certain common interests, the Americans, Saudis and Jihadists “look united but their hearts are far apart”, as the Quran describes them (Surat 59, Verse 14).

What disunited this ever-changing alliance and continues to disunite it is perhaps much stronger than what keeps it together, and this is why this union had to reshape and reinvent itself over the years and decades in order to weather the ravages of change.

To begin with, the Americans never liked the Saudis. They regard them as volatile fools and savages who happen to be oil-rich. And even though the American foreign policy is virtually shameless, their strong “friendship” and alliance with the Saudis has always been an embarrassment. After all, Saudi Arabia is a country that has laws that virtually do not give women any respect and civil rights, a country that bans Christianity at all levels, and one that is most remote from democracy.

Historically however, Americans are used to such allies. They befriend despots at ease for as long as their strategic needs are met, and on that note, they are strategically at great dis-ease because the Saudis managed to keep one big secret away from the Americans; and that is the estimate of the Saudi oil reserve. The Americans suspect that the Saudi oil reserve is much less than the declared Saudi approximate estimate, and this makes the Americans very uncomfortable, to put it mildly.
Even before September 11, many Americans were shouting slogans such as “with allies like the Saudis, who needs enemies?”

After September 11, the American alliance with the Saudis became subject to greater domestic criticism. It was clear to see that many of the hijackers were Saudis and the flow of the funds that supported them pointed towards Saudi Arabia.

On the other side, The Saudis knew well that deep inside, Americans hate their guts and that they rob them and take advantage of their wealth in the meanest way feasible. They also regard the Americans as “Infidel Crusaders” and in more ways than one, they reciprocate similar passions towards the Americans as American do towards them, but then again, they both need each other.

The differences were laid to rest because of America’s thirst for oil and the Saudi paranoia about security and the survival of the House of Saud.

The duo would have been better able to manage their differences had it not been for the third party in that marriage; the Jihadists.

The First Divorce:
From the early days of the trilateral alliance, the Jihadists did not fully trust the Saudis, but the Saudi kept up the Muslim rhetoric and reinforcing that the two parties are united by Islam. The victory over the Soviets in Afghanistan was seen as one of divine intervention.

The alliance faced is first serious breaking point in the events leading up to Operation Desert Storm. When the Saudi monarch allowed the “Infidel Crusaders” (as seen by Bin Laden) to lay foot on the holy land of Arabia, that heralded the making of an irreconcilable divorce between the Saudi Royals on one hand, and Osama Bin Laden on the other hand.

The consequences of this event were extremely serious, and were also mirrored internally by the extreme Wahhabists who saw in the move of the crown an act of treason to Islam. As a result, dissent within Saudi Arabia grew stronger, including dissent amongst the new class of educated youths who are opposed to the Al-Saud oligarchy and squandering of wealth.

When Bin Laden failed to convince his Saudi partners not to invite the “Crusaders” into Arabia in the first place, and later on failed to convince them to ask them to leave after the completion of Operation Desert Storm, Bin Laden declared divorce with the Saudi royals and went solo, using his own funds to finance Al-Qaeda.

He declared war on America and Saudi Arabia and Al-Qaeda cells were uncovered all over the kingdom and many heads were severed. Most of this took event in a hush-hush way, because the last thing that Al-Saud wanted to see reported in the media is news of domestic dissent. That said, news of explosions that rocked the kingdom for an extended period of time could not be hidden from the eyes of world media.

Suddenly, but also expectedly, the group of Jihadists who were initially brought into prominence by the funds of Saudi Arabia, Brzezinski’s brain and American military expertise, declared mutiny on its backers and turned from being a reluctant ally into a highly charged foe.

The events leading up to September 11 and the subsequent American invasion of Afghanistan were the result of that divorce, and this is fact.

A lot has been said and written about September 11 and many conspiracy theories have been proposed. This is not an attempt to dispel them, but fact remains that the alliance of Al-Qaeda and the USA broke up as the latter went solo and embarked on the journey of seeking its own objectives. After all, Jihadists are highly indoctrinated individuals, and people do not undertake suicide missions if and when they are missionaries and/or paid pawns.

After the breakup of the American-Saudi-Bin Laden (ie Al-Qaeda) alliance, for any similar alliance to come to exist, it had to be totally rebirthed from scratch and the lines had to be redrawn from square one.
In the next chapter, we shall look at the birth of ISIS and the major subsequent turning points leading up to the current situation in Iraq and Syria.

THE IMPLODING HOUSE OF SAUD. Part I By Ghassan Kadi 30 September 2014

Ghassan Kadi
30 September 2014

In a series of short articles, the rise and current dilemma of the Al-Saud legacy will be very briefly exposed from an angle that focuses on the trilateral relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Islamic fundamentalists. These articles are meant to shed some light on this subject in an attempt to make it easier for non-Arabs in particular to relate to the history of this triangle, how it was formed, shaped and how it reshaped itself over the last few decades and how it ended up where it is right now.

It is hoped that some myths will be dispelled and that readers will be better able to understand the complexity and unpredictability of today’s events.
The Rise of the Al-Saud Reign:

During his rise to power, the founder of house of Saud, King Abdul-Aziz (father of current King Abdallah) realized that he would find himself in a better position of power if he established a strategic alliance with the Wahhabis in his fight against his rivals Al Rashid.

The Wahhabis had a very strict version of Islam which many in Arabia then regarded as orthodox and puritan, and to be on their side was a badge of approval and endorsement and a reflection of religious piety. Moreover, Abdul-Aziz also needed the numbers because he only had a small army of 200 men of his own, and his ambitions went far beyond retaking Riyadh (his ancestral capital) that was taken from his family by their rivals; Al-Rashid. He wanted to be the ultimate ruler of the whole of Arabia.
After his success and ability to unite the regions of Najd and Hijaz and renaming the new kingdom after his family line; The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), with the discovery of oil in 1938, Abdul-Aziz grew more dependent on Wahhabis to keep his hold on power. In return, he had to bribe them with power and the mandate to run the Saudi streets as they saw fit, and they did. As a result, the Wahhabis imposed very strict laws such as forcing businesses to close their doors to business during prayer time and forbidding women from driving cars. But behind the public scene, the royal family used the Wahhabi clergy to get the religious Fatwas, ie mandate to rule and issue decrees that suited their agendas; all in the name of and under the guise of strict Islam.

Whilst the house of Saud held the actual government positions of power, that power was underpinned by the Wahhabi clergy. When the Wahhabi clergy wanted to send missionaries to spread its version of Islam outside the Saudi kingdom, the royals had to comply willingly or otherwise, and when the “infidel” Communist Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the disciples of Wahhabi Islam, both Saudis and non-Saudis, were charged, equipped and trained to go and fight.

The Saudi-Bin Laden-American Honeymoon:
It was at this stage that America first realized that it could use those Jihadi enthusiasts as pawns thereby capitalizing on the enemy of their enemy. That was Brzezinski’s idea, and he thought it was a brilliant plot because he did not know what he was dealing with and the danger of the monster that he was helping to grow.

The oil wealth was heaven-sent to Al-Saud, but with it came a huge amount of corruption and news of debauched behaviour of royals both at home and overseas. Many Saudi youths were growing furious with the royals and regarded them as a moral scourge, an embarrassment and as money embezzlers. Once again, the royals held to their guns by offering more bribes of power to the Wahhabi clergy, including more funds for their missionaries and military training camps.
With the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan, the Saudi royals found in Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi of Yemeni origin, an excellent recruit. The man had the religious drive and motivation, funds if he needed to personally dig into his own pocket, and above all, he was an excellent speaker and motivator.

The Americans knew the Bin Laden family quite well and the Bush family in particular had strong business relationships and friendships with the Bin Ladens. When the Saudi royals introduced Osama Bin Laden to the Americans as a war ally, the former neither liked nor trusted the latter from day one. In his eyes, they were the infidels who are, by divine decree, not to be trusted. Bin Laden however accepted to join hands with the Americans for he too wanted to get the best of the enemy of his enemy. After all, he had a mission and his prime objective was to get the Soviets out of Afghanistan.
For some to actually believe that the friendship and collaboration between America, Saudi Arabia and the Jihadists has always been totally and entirely under American control and direction is far from being accurate. This trilateral relationship has been subjected to many ups and downs and neither party trusted or liked the other. It was always am uneasy loveless marriage of convenience in pursuit of common goals.

In more ways than one, the marriage was successful and perhaps its biggest “achievement” has been the ability to raise an army of Jihadists that was big enough and tough enough to eventually lead to Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. That said, it must also be remembered that the Soviet Union was on its last leg and its fighting spirit and ability made it much easier for its foes to defeat it.
But this was about to change very soon. Later developments have proven without a shadow of doubt that the trilateral alliance of the Americans, Saudis and the Jihadists was very fragile and one that was subject to constant flux.
In the subsequent chapters, we shall examine the major changes over the last three decades and the unfolding of events leading up to the recent developments in Iraq and Syria.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


* A post Ghassan felt obliged to make after efforts failed in private to alert a budding new American analyst to the problems of the language and concepts he was using in a region wracked with sectarianism.  The screen shots of the discussions  are interesting and highly informative reading about the issue as well as showing examples of the problems the movement was encountering with some domineering solidarists who displayed towards the natives from the region a level of arrogance and disrespect  for their lived experiences and knowledge.

By Ghassan Kadi 23 September 2014 

This article, which was posted on many groups, I hate to say, is full of inaccuracies and incongruent analogies, but my comments are not going to focus on this.  

I quite frankly find it rather dangerous to use/coin the term "Shia Circle". As if it wasn't bad enough for the Islamists (Sunnis) to use the term "the Shiite Crescent" as a means of fear-mongering and a recruitment drive. Now, our friend and ally Andrew Korybko, who should know better, is using a much stronger term that implies encirlement and siege. If the Islamists find out that Western analysts are using such a term, they will use it as fodder and run with it. They will scream out "look at what Iran and the Shia are planning to do to us", and this will give them more reasons and excuses to cry out for taking up arms and push harder to incite new recruits to join the ranks of the IS and other organizations.

As a matter of fact, they are already making such outcries. They are already proclaiming that the Persians invented Chess and are the masters of trickery and military cruelty. They are already claiming that Lebanon is in the hands of Hezbollah and that Iran totally controls Syria and trying to control Iraq and that what we are witnessing now in Iraq is a counter Sunni revolution. Why in God's name does this very well-intentioned author want to give them more ammunition to their naïve argument?

Obviously, Andrew is unaware of what goes on within Sunni circles and how preachers brain-wash the minds of Sunni youths. He is unaware that his words can be used as weapons by the enemies of Syria. This is why, as Syrians, we have to make a vehement appeal to our Western friends and allies to make well-informed statements. We must plead to them to learn about our culture and how Arab/Muslim movers and shakers make their marks on opinions, how they win and lose hearts and minds, how and why Muslim youths are lured into the ranks of ISIL, and how certain words, well-intentioned as they may be, can have serious and very harmful outcomes.

To put things in perspective, in retrospect, the haphazard and ill-informed use of words that come from a position of lack of understanding of the Arabic/Muslim culture is not any different from say an Arab writer writing about American politics and referring to African Americans and to homosexuals in derogatory terms. What is it that makes Western analysts think that the Arab culture does not have its own sensitive issues that require knowledge of the culture?

It means so much to us to have supporters from all over the world, and we are greatly thankful to them. Some however are adamant not to listen to local voices that are trying to help them better understand the cultures they are dealing with. As a Syrian who is fairly senior in age, I find it is rather offensive when I see juvenile and irresponsible words used willy-nilly without any consideration to my culture, all in the name of support.

If some non-Arab supporters don't know what they are talking about and are not fully aware of the sensitivity of what they are saying, and more importantly, if they are too stubborn to accept that they need to learn, it would be much better off for us, if they (with respect) stay out of it.

See original link to post and discussion

Analyst Andrew Korybko posted this in the group and the discussion below the post follows after concerns raised about the term and concept of "Shia Circle".

Korybko introduced his article : "[h]ere is my latest article on "Syria’s Yemeni Opportunity and the Rise of the Shia Circle":

"The inclusion of the Houthis into the Yemeni government and their speedy and skillful demonstration of force and influence over the past week place Saudi Arabia on the strategic defensive. Not only do they have to contend with the prospect of an Iranian-friendly government on their southern Shiite border, but taken in a regional perspective, it appears as though Iran is cementing its Shia Circle. All of this bodes well for Syria, as the Saudis are now faced with a conundrum over whether to aggressively pursue regime change in Damascus and risk domestic Shia destabilization, or to negotiate with arch-rival Iran and reach an agreement to mitigate overall tensions."

Screen shots of post for the record

 Discussion Continued...