The New York Times* article on the links between the CIA and Saudi intelligence doesn’t reveal anything new. It is, however, the first time that this information has appeared in a major American newspaper, and the article’s publication comes at a time when the pro-Atlanticist press is publishing an ever increasing number of articles on Saudi crimes. It’s as if the United States is threatening to cut its ties with Saudi Arabia. As Manilo Dinucci highlights, the New York Times covers the current US-Saudi collaboration in the fight against Syrian government, but does not mention military cooperation in Yemen.
Code name “Timber Sycamore”: this is the name of the operation to arm and train Syrian “rebels”, a mission secretly authorised by President Obama in 2013. This is what is revealed by an investigation, published on Sunday by the New York Times.
When the president gave this secret mission to the CIA, “it already knew that it had a partner who was prepared to finance it: Saudi Arabia”. Along with Qatar, “it provided several millions of dollars, while the CIA directed the training of the rebels”. The supply of arms to the “rebels” (including radical groups such as Al Qaida) had begun in 2012 when, via a network set up by the CIA, Saudi agents had bought thousands of Ak-47s in Croatia together with millions of bullets and the Qataris had smuggled over the Turkish border into Syria Chinese Fn-6 shoulder-fired missiles, bought on the international market.
As the supply of weapons was not properly organised, the CIA director, David Petraeus, summoned the allies to Jordan and imposed a tighter system of control on the whole operation. A few months later, in the spring of 2013, Obama authorised the CIA to both train the “rebels” in Jordan and in Qatar and to supply them with arms, including TOW anti-tank missiles. Again, using the billions of the “greatest contributor”, Saudi Arabia. This is standard procedure for this type of operation.
In the 70s and 80s, Saudi Arabia helped the CIA with a series of secret operations. In Angola the CIA, using Saudi funds, supported the rebel forces against the government, an ally of the Soviet Union. In Afghanistan, “the Saudis helped arm the mujahedeen rebels to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The United States committed hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the mission, and the Saudis matched it, dollar for dollar via a CIA Swiss Bank Account”.
When the Reagan government launched a secret plan to support the Contras in Nicaragua, the Saudis, via a bank in the Cayman Islands, gave 32 million dollars to support the operation. It was through these secret operations and others like this, including the current one in Syria, that the long relationship between the CIA and Saudi intelligence was forged.
Despite the resumption of diplomatic relations with Iran, a development which did not please Riyad, “the alliance persists, kept afloat on a sea of Saudi money and a recognition of mutual self-interest”. This explains why the US has been reluctant to openly criticize Saudi Arabia for its human rights abuses, its treatment of women and its support for the extreme strain of Islam, Wahhabism, that has inspired many of the very terrorist groups the United States is fighting. It also explains why “The Obama administration did not publicly condemn Saudi Arabia’s beheading this month of a dissident Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who had challenged the royal family.”
Added to this, and this is something the New York Times does not mention, is the fact the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, on his visit to Riyad on 23 January, had reaffirmed that in Yemen, where the Houthi insurgency threatens Saudi Arabia, “the US stands with our friends in Saudi Arabia”. Friends who, for almost a year now, have been massacring civilians in Yemen, by bombing even hospitals. The US helps them by providing them with intelligence (that is to say, they indicate which targets to strike), weapons (including cluster bombs) and logistical support (which includes aerial refuelling of Saudi bombers). Last November, these same friends held a meeting in Riyad with the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who promised to support their military efforts and supply them with weapons “in the fight against terrorism”
* “U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels”, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzojan, The New York Times, January 23, 2016.
Article Translated from French
The original author was Manlio Dinucci, a geopolitical analyst and geographer. His latest publications include: Laboratorio di geografia, Zanichelli 2014 ; Geocommunity (en trois tomes) Ed. Zanichelli 2013 ; Escalation. Anatomia della guerra infinita, Ed. DeriveApprodi 2005.
Source: Réseau Voltaire