13:09 GMT +3 hours29 July 2016
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In this undated file photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff Office, Zacarias Moussaoui is shown.

The Dirtiest Secret of the War on Terror

© AP Photo/ Sherburne County, Minn., Sheriff's Office, File
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Pepe Escobar
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Out of the bowels of a US maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado, al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaui, currently serving a life sentence, providentially has shed light on what amounts to the dirtiest secret of the “war on terror”.

In over 100 pages of testimony, filed in a federal court in New York earlier this week, Moussaui drops several House of Saud-related bombs. Not least that among leading al-Qaeda donors prior to 9/11 we find former Saudi intel chief Prince Turki al-Faisal (also a former great buddy of Osama bin Laden); notorious former ambassador to the US and failed sponsor of hardcore jihadis in Syria, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush; darling of Western markets (and Rupert Murdoch) Prince al-Waleed bin Talal; and a who’s who of Saudi Arabia’s top Wahhabi clerics. 

None of this is any novelty for those among us who since Afghanistan in the 1980s have been following the extraordinarily murky adventures of Wahhabi-sponsored/derived jihadism.

The information is even more relevant when compared to an upcoming book by Michael Springmann — the former head of the US visa section in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In Visas for al-Qaeda: CIA Handouts that Rocked the World, Springmann essentially details how, “during the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.”

"The political purpose of these revelations, from Washington's point of view, is to put pressure on the House of Saud to keep pumping their oil surplus. The recent rebound in oil is causing some hysteria in Washington, because it may be linked to the Saudis having second thoughts about their oil price war against, most of all, Russia."

Well, in the beginning there was not even an “organization”. By the mid-1980s, “al-Qaeda” was only a database in a computer linked to the communications department of the secretariat of the Islamic Conference. At the time, when Osama bin Laden was nothing but a proxy US agent operating in Peshawar, al-Qaeda’s intranet was a good communication system for fighters to exchange code messages. “al-Qaeda” was neither a terrorist organization – an Islamist army — nor personal property of Osama bin Laden.

Later on, in the mid-2000s in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – the Jordanian thug precursor of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh – was recruiting militants/fanatics/angry young men by himself, without any direct input by bin Laden. His set up was al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

So al-Qaeda was and remains a brand, a successful franchising. It is not, and never was, an organization; rather a key operational element of an intel agency. Thus the categorical imperative; al-Qaeda is essentially a derivation of Saudi intel. The best evidence would be the murky role, from the beginning, of wily Prince Turki, the former, long-time director general of the Mukhabarat, the House of Saud intel (but Turki is not talking, and he never will). Turkish intel, for its part, has never bought the myth of an “al-Qaeda” organization. 

Al-Qaeda in the House

The Moussaui revelations become really explosive when dots are connected between the political ideology of the House of Saud, al-Qaeda’s political platform, and even the warped ideology of the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. The matrix for all these is 19th century Wahhabism – and its medieval interpretation/appropriation of Islam.

They are all applying different methods – some much gorier than others – towards essentially the same goal: the proselytizing of Wahhabism. The key difference is that al-Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh are Wahhabi renegades, who ultimately would like to replace the House of Saud – a puppet of the West — with an even more intolerant Salafi rule and/or Caliphate.

House of Saud equals al-Qaeda equals the Caliphate. Once this “secret” bombshell is out of its Arabian Pandora’s box, the whole US rationale behind that gift that keeps on giving, the “war on terror” – which for the Pentagon equals Infinite War — collapses. 

And that brings us to the new head of the House of Saud, Prince Salman, fast on his way to (literal) dementia. During the 1990s, he was a staunch supporter of Salafi-jihadism, and that of course included bin Laden. And later on, as Governor or Riyadh, he excelled on the hatred of Shi’ites department, which expanded to hatred of Iran as a whole – not to mention hatred of any vaguely remote democratic practices inside Saudi Arabia.

It’s useless to expect Salman to “reform” — as much as it’s useless to expect the Obama administration to let go of Washington’s love affair with “our” favorite bastards in the Persian Gulf. But now there’s a key new element; House of Saud desperation. 

It’s no secret in Riyadh and across the Gulf that the new King and his Western-educated advisors are completely freaking out. They see themselves surrounded by Iran – which, to top if off, may finally strike a nuclear deal with the “Great Satan” this summer.

They see the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh controlling a great deal of “Syraq” – with their sights set on Mecca and Medina. They see the pro-Iran al Houthi Shi’ites now controlling Yemen. They see the majority Shi’ites in Bahrain barely repressed by mercenary forces. They see substantial Shi’ite unrest in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where the oil is.

They are spread out all over the Middle East still possessed by their “Assad must go” psychosis (he’s not going anywhere though). They need to finance the military junta now in power in Egypt to the tune of tens of billions of dollars (Egypt is essentially broke.) To top it off, they foolishly bought Washington’s fight against Russia by embarking in an oil price war which is corroding their own budget.  

Substantially, what has happened so far in Riyadh is just a palace coup. Salman got rid of everyone associated with late King Abdullah. Notorious Bandar Bush – still fresh from his spectacular Syria fiasco – was fired from his post of Secretary-General for the National Security Council and special envoy of the King. Perhaps Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri could find him a job. 

There is no evidence Salman will crack down on a rash of influential, demented clerics – and pious wealthy donors — who export Wahhabism as global jihad. There is no evidence that if the House of Saud is really serious about fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, Salman will make the effort to cooperate with the Shi’ite majority government in Baghdad. Or at least let Iran take care of the problem (and they can, with their military advisors and support for selected militias like the Badr brigade).

There is no evidence the House of Saud will try to reach a compromise with Tehran; instead, paranoia reigns, because not only ideologically but politically they see themselves marginalized once Iran rises as a regional superpower in case a nuclear deal is clinched this summer. 

Most of all, there is no evidence the “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” (Obama’s own words) administration has the capability to seriously review US-Saudi relations. What is certain is that the dirtiest secret of the war on terror will remain off-limits. All the “terror” we face, real or manufactured, springs out from just one source; not “Islam”, but intolerant, demented Wahhabism.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Sputnik.

You can buy Pepe Escobar’s latest book "Empire of Chaos" here

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terrorist attack, terrorist, terrorism, 9/11, al-Qaeda, Zacarias Moussaoui, United States
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