By Lal Khan
February 23, 2015
The US’s relations with its oldest and long lasting ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, have been strained in the recent period, albeit hypocritically. The Economist commented, “A woman accused of murder was dragged through the streets of Mecca and beheaded with a sword. Though America disapproves of this sort of thing, it does not let it upset relations. (US) government delegations to the Kingdom are usually lots of men with military uniform and one official from the state department, whose job is to say that it would be nice if women could drive...The arms sales at least have the virtue of being nakedly self-interested. Selling weapons is a big part of the American diplomacy in the Kingdom. A recent ambassador worked for Raytheon, the world’s biggest producer of guided missiles, before he was appointed. It is also popular in the Congress: the defence business is adept at scattering production around as many districts as possible.”
The instigations from Saudi imams breed Salafi Muslim terrorists that now are a threat to the west. The House of Saud has long been involved in bankrolling Salafi imams to foment loyalty to the dynasty. Saudi petro-dollars lubricate and run Wahhabi mosques and finance Islamic terrorist networks all around the world. Abu Bakr Baghdadi and the black-robed elite of Islamic State (IS) use Salafi jurisprudence to impose their vicious version of Islamic law. Bestial public beheadings are the outcome of this. Western citizens are facing threats that have been subsidised by the House of Saud. The argument that the Saudi monarchy must be supported because it is stable is deeply flawed and is more wishful thinking reflecting the military and diplomatic impotency of the imperialists. Their present socio economic crisis has debilitated and hampered the US’s military muscle to impose imperialist hegemony. The danger being hyped is the thought of something like IS controlling the world’s largest oil reserves.
In a change of face by the recent conflict between sections of the western ruling classes and the Saudi regime, The Economist dared to sketch an interesting comparison between IS and the Saudi regime in its September 20 issue of last year: “The condemned may request a painkiller. Their end is not televised, and comes with a swift sword stroke from a skilled executioner rather than from hacking with a kitchen knife by an untutored brute. Otherwise there is not much difference between a death sentence in the jihadists’ ‘Islamic State’ and in Saudi Arabia, a country seen as a crucial western ally in the fight against the IS. Nor, indeed, is there much difference between the two entities in other applications of a particularly merciless brand of sharia, or Islamic law, including public whippings and the right for victims of crime to claim eye for an aye revenge.”
The Saudi monarchy has used its massively accumulated wealth from the country’s black gold to build a clout of its piety, the ‘custodians of Harem Sharif’ (the Kaaba) throughout the so-called Islamic world. They have supported the most vicious dictators and the most deceptive democratic rulers of the privileged classes. The reactionary princes have sponsored Islamic terrorist outfits with and without the connivance of the US and western imperialism; sometimes these fundamentalists even ended up clashing with western interests. The repressive machine of the House of the Saud has spread its tentacles far and wide. In countries like Pakistan their intrusion into the state and media is so intense that many writers may carry out a critique of the military and political regimes but dare not say anything negative of the Saudi monarchy.
In the recent period, the imperialists have been bogged down by their own inherent weaknesses. They retreated to attack Syria, intervene in Yemen and are attempting to ‘normalise’ relations with the Iranian reactionary clergy more overtly. The US and European bourgeois are trying to be cosy with the obscenely rich Qatari monarchy ignoring its regional hegemonic ambitions. This led to Saudi fuming with some of the Saudi princes being arrogant and insolent towards their imperialist mentors. This relatively new clash of interests has led to the exposure of the heinous atrocities perpetuated by these reactionary despots for almost 90 years. The tyrannies inflicted upon migrant workers, particularly those from Pakistan, including their regular beheadings by the Kingdom, are harrowing. The brutal repression on the domestic front, proxy wars for regional hegemony with Iran through most vicious of terrorist outfits and their role in the seminaries and religious institutions are concealed conveniently by the media and the intelligentsia at the behest of the west with funding and fear of the Saudi monarchy. US imperialism is complicit in the brutalities perpetrated by this and other despotic regimes in the region.
What is more, the footsteps of US intelligence agencies are not limited to the Islamic world. In the 1990s, US special forces and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worked with a Colombian vigilante group, Los Pepes, to track down and kill drug lord Pablo Escobar. The two main leaders of Los Pepes were Don Berna and Fidel Castano, both former employees of Escobar. In 1997, some of Los Pepes’ leaders co-founded the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, more commonly known as AUC, which was responsible for numerous massacres and political assassinations in Colombia. In the 1960s, the CIA also trained and harboured two terrorists aiming to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro and to topple the government in the country. Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban citizen who fled to the US after the Cuban Revolution, helped organise the Bay of Pigs invasion and, after it failed, became an agent for the CIA. He was trained at Fort Benning, a US army base outside Columbus, Georgia. From 1964 to 1968, he was involved in a series of bombings and other anti-Castro covert activities. Posada was found guilty by a court in Panama as one of the perpetrators behind the 1967 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. However, he lived in the US as a refugee and was never charged with any criminal offence there.
With such a record, the war to eliminate fundamentalist terror, launched by the US imperialists with the Pakistani and Saudi establishments as their allies, is a fallacy. Imperialist aggressions and neofascist Islamic terror both represent in different ways the distilled essence of the decaying and stinking capitalism that has unleashed economic and social conflagration pulverising societies. Imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism are products and protectors of this system. With its relentless crisis there is no chance whatsoever of any stability, peace or prosperity. The plight of the masses will only worsen and human life will become even more excruciating.
Lal Khan is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and international secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign