Sleeping with the Enemy: US Partnership with Saudi-Wahhabis – by Rusty Walker

Saudi-Wahhabis and their affiliates are the single major source of Islamist terrorism across the world.

If I may ask the reader, would you conduct business with a country where Human Rights Watch list multiple egregious acts against its own society? HRW, travelers and oppressed citizens there (using fake identity or risk imprisonment) confirm the following as common? “Oppression of women, persecution of religious minorities, unfair trials, detention of children, oppression of foreign laborers,” a country that is not an ‘open culture,’ in fact, a culture of hiding. One would expect the United Nations Human Right Committee to press moral charges against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) if for no other reason than the reality that thirteen year old children are sentenced to death in that country.  Women are subject to the control of male guardians- even for everyday activities, and can be restricted in employment and education.
UN report: “Women are not treated as equal members of society, and many laws discriminate against them…they may not legally drive cars, and their use of public facilities is restricted when men are present. By law and custom, Saudi women cannot travel within or outside of the country without a male relative…Unlike Saudi men, Saudi women who marry non-Saudis are not permitted to pass their nationality on to their children, and their spouses cannot receive Saudi nationality. Saudi women seeking access to the courts must work with a male. According to interpretations of Sharia in Saudi Arabia, daughters receive half the inheritance awarded to their brothers, and the testimony of one man is equal to that of two women in Sharia courts…The Committee to Prevent Vice and Promote Virtue, a semiautonomous religious police force commonly known as the mutawa’een, enforces a strict policy of segregation between men and women and often harasses women, using physical punishment to ensure that women meet conservative standards of dress in public. In 2007, a court sentenced a Shiite woman from Qatif, who had been gang raped by seven men, to 200 lashes and six months in jail for being alone with a man who was not her relative at the time of the attack; the man was also raped by the attackers and punished by the court.” (Freedom House Country Report 2009, Saudi Arabia)

Indeed, trials go forward with guilt and no evidence, physical abuse while incarcerated, and 9 million foreign workers remain unpaid with physical and sexual abuse is commonplace. Geopolitics can be Machiavellian. I am no stranger to Realpolitik; but shouldn’t there be a limit to how far we allow (American) allies to go? The Wahhabi–agenda favors a bigoted interpretation and practice of Islamic Sharia Law, gender segregation, and jihadist view, the majority of opposition to liberal democracy, and pluralism.

Here are just two recent examples of Saudi Arabian abuses:

“Saudi woman executed for witchcraft and sorcery.”

Four men killed as Shia protests against the state intensify

Americans, like myself, have a difficult time arguing against the term hurled at us from foreign nations: “hypocrisy” (there is plenty to go around in the world as it is). And, yet our indulgence of Saudi Arabia over “Petro-dollars” confirms at least one example. While we invaded Iraq, the Saudis provided air space, and yet, harbored and funded jihadists, and trained them in Wahhabi-Deobandi Madrassas. Faced with the absence of WMD in Iraq, we consoled ourselves with the ridding of a tyrant Saddam Hussein, and yet there remains the stubborn fact that thirteen newly U.S. trained pilots of 9/11 were not only from Saudi-Wahhabis but also funded by Saudi Princes.

American and British official sources confirmed, Prince Naif, the interior minister and Prince Sultan, possibly more, on behalf of the Saudi Kingdom, had been paying protection money, hundreds of millions of dollars to bin Laden since 1995. Former counter-terrorism coordinator, Richard Clarke, wrote of regret in giving the go-ahead to fly prominent Saudis home after 9/11; (Source:  See August 2011, page 88, “The Kingdom  and the Towers.”-Agaainst All Enemies, Clake, 2004). It seems that the terrorist-sympathizers, the Saudi-Wahhabis, are hiding in plain sight with the U.S. again duped by a dubious ally.

If selling your soul to the devil is about petrodollars, then perhaps we can avoid perdition by drilling for our own oil; but this is just the beginning of the story if a nation is to claim to have principles.  If our foreign policy strategy hinges on trusting the Saudi-Wahhabis, there remains no coherent foreign policy in which to deal with Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Libya, Egypt, or the Palestinian Authority that might be based on human rights, or the “with us,” or  against us” concept in the backing of terrorism, and the stated U.S. policy of helping nations to achieve democracy . The blatant Saudi bank-rolling of radical Wahhabis, the marginalizing of Shiites and other minorities, degrading of women, rejection of democracy and the principles of liberty, and exploiting the one Super Power with oil is an example of a nation we deem an ally and is indeed hypocrisy.

The blatant Saudi bank-rolling of radical Wahhabis (and Wahhabi-ised Deobandis in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan), the marginalizing of Shiites and other minorities, degrading of women, rejection of democracy and the principles of liberty, and exploiting the one Super Power with oil is an example of a nation we deem an ally and is indeed hypocrisy.

Ali al Ahmad, the director of the Gulf Institute in Washington, argued in testimony and briefings that “the Wahhabi  regime is the root cause of  the expansion of Islamist and jihadist ideologies not only in the country but throughout the region.” The tensions in the Shia areas of Saudi Arabia (and neighbouring Bahrain, Yemen and Kuwait) are the result of an ongoing persecution, discrimination and incitements. Ali Al Yammi, a hard-core liberal, the director of the Washington-based Saudi Human Rights Council, stated in a congressional briefing July 2010, that the Saudi regime, “keeps the Shia population in a state of economic underdevelopment for the purpose of weakening their political participation in the system.” Further, he noted that The extreme Salafists (Wahhabis) fear a revolution is brewing. Al Yammi, was cited by Walid Phares, advisor to the House of Representatives on Counter Terrorism, that “Arab Shia in Saudi Arabia have a cause of their own, they don’t need the Iran’s mullah’s.” (Phares, 2010, p314). The point: All Shiites are not aligned with a nuclear-threatening Iran.

Is it that compartmentalize? We reject Taliban misogyny that we abhor, but  accept Saudi misogyny that we are able to  ignore? The Saudi as a petro-power should not get an oil-soaked pass. To rail against terrorist suicide bombers, but not connect them often enough in the foreign press or American press to Saudi-Wahhabis, will allow this subterfuge to continue. We must understand the networking involved and condemn them and insist that  Saudi-funded Wahhabi-Deobandi Madrassas (in Pakistasn, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Sudan, Egypt, UK, USA, elsewhere) are shut down. To remain the status quo is to be either wilfully blind, or ignorant, which we can no longer afford to be in the dangerous, fragile global economy and proliferation of nuclear nations aligned with terrorists.

Why do we, the United States, deal with the duplicitous and oppressive Saudi Arabia? Oil? Is it to have a trusted strategic ally in the region?  A Super Power should be above such a dubious reliance. We choose to ignore egregious harm from the past and emerging designs of the future. It runs the gamut from  1973, when Saudis bit the hand that fed them, with an oil embargo after we had protected them against Soviet attacks, to their terrorist-funding, to human rights abuses today we insist are below our standards. “Every modern president has had to walk a tightrope [regards Saudi Arabia] negotiated by Nixon and Kissinger in 1973, and it remains our principle, unsteady avenue into the Middle East. “ (Quicksand, Wawro, p.600.)

The major US and the Western media do on a rare occasion (CNN, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Economist) give air-play and thus, educate the American people in the Saudi-Wahhabi terrorist networks that run blatantly through Afghanistan, across the Durand Line, and in such places as Yemen, Somalia, et. al, but the US and the West must also educate the American people about Muslims that are the freedom fighters waging a war against Saudi-Wahabi fanatics and terrorists, a struggle we rarely hear about: the ones on our side, one might say, the “Good Muslims” – the Sufi Muslims (also known as Barelvi Muslims in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh).

The world might need a paradigm shift, but we must think about constructive ways to engage with majority Sufi Muslims that are building a positive narrative of freedom and democracy and pluralism. They are called Barelvis in Pakistan and India.  For the most part I have found that these Sufi Muslims in Pakistan have no enmity towards India, for example (except a few who have been successfully brainwashed by the Saudi-ISI propaganda). This war we fight against Wahhabi jihadists we are joined also with minority Islamic sects, for example, the Shias, Ahmadis, Alawites , and others. These are our allies against the war on terrorism – more than we have been educated to realize. Almost all of the terrorist attacks against the USA and the West have been carried out by groups and individuals affiliated with Wahhabi or Deobandi Muslims (by this term I do not mean traditional Sunnis, but rather rogue militants, “muharibun,” radical Salafists/Wahhabis and Deobandis who misinterpret the Quran to promote their violent, intolerant agenda). These are the brainwashed members of the Saudi-Wahhabi network of which I speak.

There has been a powerful Saudi-Wahhabi lobby operating and spreading misinformation about Islam since mid twentieth century. The lobby became much more influential during the early Bush administration who at the time unwittingly was looking for understandable guidance. Saudi funds poured into Washington and universities and along with it, a radical group to misrepresent Islam, and instead present Islamist views. This is no conspiracy theory. In part, the key reason for failure of the Clinton and Bush architects in the war of ideas was their narrow experience in Islamist politics, in Arab affairs. Most of the think tanks formed after 9/11 to push for democracy focused on the theology of Islam, or the abstract notion of freedoms and liberties in the US.

The problem that arose is that no Muslim reformers were invited to the White House, while the Islamists-American lobbies – backed by Saudi Wahhabi funds- such as CAIR, were received as the representatives of Middle East and South Asia. There were no Shia scholars, no Sufi Muslims, no Iranian or Syrian reformers or, for that matter, Darfur activists, included in policy meetings. The Academic elite, especially a majority of the Middle Eastern Studies experts of the Ivy League establishment, blasted the Bush administration for speaking of democracies in Middle East. The members of that group were well funded by Wahhabi and other authoritarian money, and were not going to turn against their Saudi donors. Islamist petrodollars had penetrated early on in the aftermath by 2003 and still today their insistent presence and persuasive oil-money works within the university system and government lobbyists. ( pp.100-101 Walid Phares, The Coming Revolution).

The fate of the 2004 U.S. backed Arabic station to promote freedom and democracy was no different. By 2007 there was a take-over, that resulted in spewing  the Wahhabi agenda on U.S. station, eventually pulled off the air when discovered. The Wahhabi agenda favors narrowly misinterpreted Sharia  Law, gender segregation, and jihadist view, violent views against Christians, Jews, Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, along with the majority of opposition to liberal democracy and pluralism.

There remains currently, a powerful Saudi-Wahhabi lobby operating to influence the U.S. public opinion as well as the U.S. Department of State in order to indirectly promote the global Saudi-Wahhabi strategic interests.

While  U.S. foreign strategists understandably focus on a nuclear Iran, Israel/Palestine, draw-down of involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan; hash out its relations with Pakistan, sort out its role in Libya-type NATO efforts, it cannot afford to ignore the developments of Wahhabi-Saudi and its connections. If KSA is absent in the strategic calculus of regional power-players, long-term efforts for stability, regional power-vacuums, and surreptitious Saudi-Wahhabi funding of terrorists, there could be catastrophic destabilizing consequences that could reach and tear into the fabric of world peace, as well homeland security within the United States. Largely ignored, Saudi-funded Salafists (Wahhabiss) already impact Pakistan and other countries in the region.

This effort has consequences that if not understood and addressed has damaging implications that could reach and tear into the fabric of world peace, as well homeland security within the United States, as it already impacts Pakistan and other countries in the region.

In terms of global geopolitics, one of the most potent threats to world peace is the Saudi-Wahhabi lobby and its global tentacles. These tentacles are present in the White House and in the US State department.  They have subtly influenced US foreign policy, such as cleaning out ex-allies that have become redundant and replacing them with virulent Muslim brotherhood (Ikhwan) in Egypt and its off spring (a refined version of Al Qaeda) in Libya.  Meanwhile they have suppressed genuine pro-democracy movements in Bahrain and Yemen; movements that could encourage Saudi Arabia’s majority non-Wahhabi population to strive for democratic reforms.

In this regard, the hardline clerics of Iran have ensured that the United States continues to miscalculate the situation in Muslim majority countries.  They have done this by continuously deflecting the blame of Saudi-Wahhabi violence on the United States and Israel.  This is best encapsulated in the following historical account presented by Pakistani political analyst Nadeem F. Paracha:

“According to Yaroslav Trofimov in ‘The Siege of Mecca,’ the Iranians were well aware of the reality behind the takeover of the mosque by Saudi fanatics, but used the opportunity to embarrass both Americans and the Saudis by claiming that it was a part of an Israeli/US plot to ‘occupy’ Makkah. In Pakistan, though the state-controlled media kept rather mum about the event and only asked the people to ‘mourn the takeover’; the Zia regime advised PTV and Radio Pakistan not to let out any details of the occupation.”

While even top strategists and U.S. commanders admit that the United States has made its share of missteps in foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia, it remains a ready ally to join against terrorist forces and join forces that permit freedom and liberties. Sometimes this takes additional strong cases being made to Washington officials. The myopic alliance with Saudi Arabia is in need of serious re-evaluation based on the arguments above, as the U.S. looks forward to new election in 2012. Whether it is a new administration, or the same, policies must include deeper assessment and alignment of allies. The United States credibility is once again on the line. As American people we feel we support democracy around the world. But, in fact, this historically falls short of our beliefs. Platitudes that are directed at the Middle East, with no real support for burgeoning democracies is simply pathless wandering through the region. We must abandon childish beliefs that we can support democracy and still ally with oppressive nations such as KSA. Otherwise questions of whether the U.S. can be trusted as an ally will continue to be asked. If the US were oil independent, a course that could have been developed after the 1970s oil crisis, the evil of oil alliances could be corrected, replacing the insistence on human rights before business, and facing the real Saudi agenda, and Saudi-Wahhabi funding of Jihadists with the proper opposition.

The Saudi-Wahhabis have a record of killing and oppressing the Muslims of the World and also within the very Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), due to well placed money, this fatal problem is often overlooked. In the overwhelming instances of Islamist terrorism, it is Salafi-Wahabi terrorists who have wreaked havoc not just in the West but have killed tens of thousands of Muslims in the last few decades.

Starting with the Jamaat-e-Islami who collaborated with the Pakistan army in conducting a genocide in Bangladesh to the Al Qaeda affiliated Sipah-e-Sahaba/Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who massacred 60 Shia Muslims in Afghanistan this Ashura, the Saudi-Wahhabi lobby is at center of the nexus that threatens the world.  Their most faithful partners in crime are the Pakistan army which is why most acts of terrorism are traced back to those areas of Pakistan where the army has willingly ceded national sovereignty to its Jihadi assets.

Refer to Bruce Reidel’s latest article where the Pakistan army is ready to supply nukes to KSA to bomb Iran.  After all this, do we still want to ally ourselves with those who have brought nothing but misery on the US, the West and the largely non-radical Muslim world. Please pay particular attention to the Enter the Bomb sub-section in Riedel’s article to understand the potential nuclear proliferation between Pakistan army and Saudi Arabia.

The US should be insightful enough to realize that aside from some maniac hardliners in Iran, the Green Revolution had many supporters, and the overall society still values its ancient Persian culture and its religion is steeped in local culture.  While some Ayatullahs are in favor of abusing Iran and trying to develop their own version of Wahhabi-lite, the bulk of the population and even many Ayatullahs are not in favor of having a permanent cold war with the United States.

In this nuclear world, it is no exaggeration that for the sake of civilization, the United States needs to reassess its alliance with Saudi Arabia, develop its own oil resources, of which there are plenty, and face facts about the Wahhabi machinery in KSA-combining this calculus into world geopolitical strategies. Furthermore, the mullahs running Iran need to understand that their confrontation with the U.S. is not necessarily supported by the Shiite community in other regions (e.g. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen etc), and it is transparently recognized that the Iran-US confrontation would not only endanger Muslims as well as the West but would also serve to reinforce the Saudi-Wahhabi apparatus, the single major source of Islamist terrorism, the world over.

The U.S., the West and the non-radical Muslims need to join hands to fight the Saudi-Wahhabi menace. Together we can make this world a better, peaceful place!


About the author: Rusty Walker is an Independent Political Analyst, educator, author, Vietnam veteran-era U.S. Air Force, from a military family, retired college professor, former Provost (Collins College, U.S.A.), artist, musician and family man. Mr. Walker is an ardent supporter of Pakistan. Here is a link to Mr. Walker’s other articles published on LUBP:




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