Whenever you see the mainstream media in the United States take time out from trashing President Donald Trump to give him neutral or even grudgingly favorable coverage, be on your guard. It’s a sure sign he’s taken a step away from his campaign pledge to drain the Washington swamp and instead has done something to please the swamp critters.
A smug New York Times, the virulent enemy of Trump and of the deplorable people who elected him, clucked its patronizing approval of his speech to the leaders of over 50 Muslim-majority countries – pointedly excluding Iran and Syria – as a repudiation of his earlier views:
President Trump on Sunday pivoted away from his strident assessment of Islam as a religion of hatred as he sought to redefine US leadership in the Mideast and rally the Muslim world to join him in a renewed campaign against extremism...The centerpiece of the Saudi leg of Trump’s maiden foreign voyage as president was the joint U.S.-Saudi inauguration of a "Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology," to be located in Riyadh. The selection of venue and partner is nothing less than surreal. Where better to plant a center devoted to combating violent Islamic ideology than in the capital of the country where that very ideology is officially established by the state?
The president’s overall tone in Saudi Arabia was a far cry from his incendiary language on the campaign trail last year, when he said that ‘Islam hates us’ and called for a ‘total and complete shutdown’ of Muslims entering the United States.
Throughout his visit here, a less volatile president emerged, disciplined and on message in a way he is often not at home.
A "European Center for Combating Genocidal Ideology" just as well might have been set up in 1942 in Berlin. Or Zagreb. Just think how much work it would have had!
It’s possible there’s simply been a misunderstanding. Perhaps Trump’s Saudi hosts thought he meant a center for promoting extremist ideology. No doubt it will all be cleared up soon.
It hardly needs to be detailed what Trump and his advisers are well aware of: that in terms of promoting, not combating, jihad ideology, Saudi Arabia is the global epicenter. The Islamic State, al-Qaeda and its many offshoots and affiliates (such as the Imam Shamil Battalion, which claimed "credit" for the April 2017 St. Petersburg Metro bombing, which western media ignore on lists of terror attacks since the victims were only Russians, not real human beings), al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Abu Sayyaf – all profess Wahhabist doctrines care of the so-called "Kingdom." Tens if not hundreds of thousands of little boys in madrassas around the world, including in areas of Syria and Iraq controlled by the Islamic State, study their homicidal catechism from Saudi official textbooks. Funding and weaponry to these groups would dry up without benefactors from Saudi Arabia and Gulf states.
For the umpteenth time, our Wahhabist "allies" have promised an American president they will get serious about cracking down on supposedly unauthorized terror-funding by private parties. For the umpteenth time, an American president pretends to believe them.
In an inversion of reality, Trump assigned the blame for global terrorism explicitly on Iran and Syria – and implicitly on Russia – which are fighting against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. He also announced over $100 billion in arms sales to the Saudis to counter Iran in places like Yemen, where the Iranians have no presence and little influence but where the Saudis are committing genocide in collaboration with al-Qaeda.
Turning a blind eye to the real sponsors of jihad in order to destroy countries targeted by Riyadh’s Wahhabists doesn’t only mean inflicting atrocities on those countries – it comes back to bite us here at home too. Consider the recent Manchester bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores of others. As pointed out by Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute, it would not have happened if the Saudis, American, and British governments had not turned Libya and Syria into jihadist playpens for the likes of mass murderer Salman Abedi:
According to the London Telegraph, Abedi, a son of Libyan immigrants living in a radicalized Muslim neighborhood in Manchester had returned to Libya several times after the overthrow of Muamar Gaddafi, most recently just weeks ago. After the US/UK and allied ‘liberation’ of Libya, all manner of previously outlawed and fiercely suppressed radical jihadist groups suddenly found they had free rein to operate in Libya. This is the Libya that Abedi returned to and where he likely prepared for his suicide attack on pop concert attendees. Before the US-led attack on Libya in 2011, there was no al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other related terrorist organization operating (at least with impunity) on Libyan soil.Britons should hold David Cameron guilty of the innocent blood staining Manchester. No less guilty are Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama. Likewise Hillary Clinton of "We came, we saw, he died" infamy, who reportedly was the driving force for America’s role, without which regime change in Libya would not have occurred. Let that self-anointed champion of women and girls answer for Manchester.
Gaddafi himself warned Europe in January 2011 that if they overthrew his government the result would be radical Islamist attacks on Europe, but European governments paid no heed to the warnings. Post-Gaddafi Libya became an incubator of Islamist terrorists and terrorism, including prime recruiting ground for extremists to fight jihad in Syria against the also-secular Bashar Assad.
In Salman Abedi we have the convergence of both these disastrous US/UK and allied interventions, however: it turns out that not only did Abedi make trips to Libya to radicalize and train for terror, but he also travelled to Syria to become one of the 'Syria rebels' fighting on the same side as the US and UK to overthrow the Assad government. Was he perhaps even trained in a CIA program? We don't know, but it certainly is possible.
When on the Last Day the books are opened and all accounts settled, Salman Abedi will have to face the judgment he escaped in this life. But add to that reckoning before the Dread Judge the names of those who helped the Saudis and their confederates do their dirty work.
Donald Trump needs to think long and hard before going further down the same path.
Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.