For decades the United States and its NATO allies have helped Saudi Arabia export methods of political indoctrination known as Wahhabism to radicalize individuals and swell the ranks of mercenary forces used to wage proxy wars abroad and manipulate Western populations at home.
What began as a means for the House of Saud itself to establish, expand, and eventually consolidate political power on the Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century has now become a finely honed tool of geopolitical power integrated into Washington’s foreign policy.
A remarkable admission was recently made in the pages of the Washington Post in an article titled, “Saudi prince denies Kushner is ‘in his pocket’.”
The article would quote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stating (emphasis added):
Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
Successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort, he said, and now “we have to get it all back.” Funding now comes largely from Saudi-based “foundations,” he said, rather than from the government.
While the article claims “successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort” and that funding is now provided by “Saudi-based “foundations,”” this is not true.
There are no “successive governments” in Saudi Arabia. The nation since its founding has been run by a single family – the House of Saud.
And while Saudi-based foundations may be the conduit through which Wahhabism is organized, funded, and directed, it most certainly is done at the behest of Riyadh in a process underwritten by Washington.
A Tool, Not an Ideology
Wahhabism was created and used as a political tool as early as the 1700’s. It served as the cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s founding. Conveniently, Wahhabism – since its inception – was intolerant to outsiders. To the Saudis seeking political power through conquest, this intolerance was easily translated into the use of violence against tribes and neighboring states that did not submit to Saudi power.
The British would harness this political tool further in its contest of power with the Ottoman Empire. It encouraged and cultivated extremist ideologies like Wahhabism before and after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. After the World Wars, the British and the Americans would ally themselves with nations like Saudi Arabia and begin exporting Wahhabi indoctrination worldwide.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s admission of this gives further insight into Washington’s use of extremists in Syria in the late 1970s and early 1980s as well as US support to militants in Afghanistan aimed at dislodging the Soviet presence there.
But it also reveals precisely how terrorism as a geopolitical tool is being used post-Cold War today, and who is using it.
“Mosques” funded by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states well beyond the Middle East – including in Europe and Asia – serve as indoctrination and recruitment centers for the US and its allies’ various proxy wars and destabilization efforts around the globe.
How Wahhabism is Honed
Foreign fighters recruited from around the globe to fight in Syria’s ongoing conflict have been drawn primarily from this Saudi-funded and directed Wahhabi network.
“Mosques” and “madrases” operating in North America and Europe do so with the full knowledge and cooperation of Western security and intelligence services. The recruitment, deployment, and homecoming of Wahhabi-indoctrinated mercenaries across the West has been admitted even across the Western media.
Danish media organization, The Local DK, would expose one such center in Denmark. The report in an article titled, “Danish mosque doubles down on Isis support,” would describe what is open support for designated terrorist organizations, specifically the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS).
The article would state:
“We want the Islamic State to come out on top. We want an Islamic state in the world,” the mosque’s chairman, Oussama El-Saadi, said in the DR programme.
El-Saadi also said that he views Denmark’s participation in the US-led battle against Syria as a direct affront not only to his mosque but to all Muslims.
“The war is against Islam,” he said.
This same supposed “mosque,” based in Denmark, despite openly admitting its support of terrorism, would not be immediately shut down and its leadership arrested as one would expect. Instead, the Danish government admittedly worked with he “mosque” to merely manage the process.
Der Spiegel’s article, “Community Response: A Danish Answer to Radical Jihad,” would report:
Commissioner Aarslev says he is proud of what they have thus far achieved, though he never forgets to praise his people and the others involved in the program. He is particularly effusive when speaking of one man: a bearded Salafist who is head of the Grimhøjvej Mosque in Aarhus, where many of the young men who left Aarhus to join the war in Syria were regulars. It’s leader is a man named Oussama El Saadi….
…these two men have joined forces in a project that is seeking to find answers to questions that are plaguing the entire continent of Europe: What can be done about radical returnees from Syria? What measures are available to counter the terror which once again seems to be threatening the West closer to home?
Astonishingly, the Western media has admitted to a multitude of such “mosques” openly recruiting men across the West to fight as mercenaries in Syria under the banner of Al Qaeda and its various subsidiaries and spin-offs before returning home and posing a security threat to Western populations.
Rather than dismantling the network and eliminating the threat, the West has intentionally left it to grow, creating sociopolitical divisions within Western nations. Increasing racism, bigotry, and xenophobia helps continue justifying the West’s wars abroad while justifying a growing police state at home.
The Cover Up
The UK Independent in its article, “Saudi Arabia boosting extremism in Europe, says former ambassador,” would admit:
Saudi Arabia has been funding mosques throughout Europe that have become hotbeds of extremism, the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir William Patey has said.
However, the article and many like it, intentionally deflects away from the larger implications of Saudi-funding and the use of these so-called “mosques” as indoctrination and recruitment centers feeding militants funded and armed by the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, and its Arab partners into conflicts around the globe.
The Western media and politicians, as well as Saudi representatives themselves, have attempted to claim Riyadh either doesn’t fully control this network, or does not realize this network’s central role in driving global terrorism. Such excuses are – however – even at face value absurd.
The US and Saudi Arabia’s use of Wahhabi networks to fill the rank and file of militant groups fighting around the globe is blatant. The fighters “accidentally” being recruited in Saudi-funded “mosques” across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia form militant groups armed, funded, trained, and otherwise supported by the US, Europe, and their Middle Eastern allies including Saudi Arabia.
In relation to Syria in particular, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh even as early as 2007 in his article, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would expose this process in action – as the lead up to the 2011 war in Syria was already underway.
The article would state (emphasis added):
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
The article would also point out:
This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
Thus, there is nothing at all accidental or unintended about Washington and Riyadh’s creation and use of these networks.Other tactics have been used as well to prevent directly addressing this decades-long effort. The use of “multiculturalism” versus virulent racism, bigotry, and xenophobia have created a false debate that transforms wh
at is essentially joint Western-Arab multinational sponsorship of terrorism into petty and highly divisive wedge issues.
Controlled opposition on both sides of the resulting “debate” intentionally direct public discourse away from questions surrounding the inception and utilization of Wahhabism by both Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies, as well as the West itself.
The US-Saudi Global Terror Pipeline
From Saudi-funded “mosques” indoctrinating, radicalizing, and recruiting militants, prospective fighters are then moved toward theaters of operation. US-Saudi sponsored extremists drawn from China’s Uyghur population in China’s western province of Xinjiang, have been moving across Southeast Asia before reaching Turkey where they stage, are trained and armed before being sent to fight Damascus’ troops in Syria.
And while currently the primary task of the US-Saudi terror pipeline has been to feed the proxy war with Syria, US-Saudi sponsored Wahhabi indoctrination, radicalization, and recruitment is also localized. While Uyghur extremists are being sent to Syria, others are recruited and arrayed within China itself.
Across Southeast Asia, Saudi-funding has found its way into militants fighting under the banner of ISIS in the Philippines. There are legitimate concerns that this US-Saudi funded network has tried to work its way into Thailand and exploit separatist fighting in the deep south.
In neighboring Myanmar, the US helped place the current regime headed by “State Counsellor” Aung San Suu Kyi into power. Her ultra-nationalist and viciously racist supporters have waged years of genocidal violence against the nation’s Rohingya minority. Simultaneously, the US and Saudi Arabia have created a “Rohingya” militant group led by Ata Ullah – raised and educated in Saudi Arabia.
Ata Ullah’s backstory is nebulous. His “leadership” may be similar to ISIS’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – a figure head of an organization ultimately run by and for Riyadh and Washington.
The use of terrorists has served a variety of objectives. For Syria, it is regime change, in China, agitation and possible Balkanization along the nation’s frontiers, in Southeast Asia – attempts to divide and weaken nations Washington is attempting to install client regimes in or in nations like Myanmar in which the US requires a client regime to remain obedient, and for the Philippines in particular – a means to retain a US military presence on Philippine soil.
Exposing and Ending Washington and Riyadh’s Terror Enterprise
The US sees Wahhabism as a useful geopolitical tool it has honed and used for decades already. While it and its Western allies feign ignorance to its inception, and feign impotence to stop it, they continue to invest in both its continued operation and its continual reinvention.
And while Wahhabism may have assisted Saudi Arabia in its founding and expansion as a powerful regional player, its sponsorship of these networks today is unsustainable and quickly becoming a liability. The US – as it has proven with many other former allies and proxies – will continue to use Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi construct until both Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia itself are no more.
While it is still too early to tell, Saudi Arabia has plenty of incentives to transform its long-feigned interest in exposing and dismantling these networks into real action.
For the public, shattering the petty political wedge issues used by the West to protect this multinational sponsored network of indoctrination, radicalization, and recruitment is essential to enlisting the public in exposing both Saudi Arabia and the West’s role in constructing and perpetuating it.
Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is also a frequent contributor to Global Research.