A Saudi clan, the Sudairi, is spearheading the counter-revolutionary tide unleashed by the United States and Israel in the Middle East. In a vast overview, published in serial form by the leading Russian language daily, Thierry Meyssan from Damascus paints a general picture of the contradictions which are convulsing the region.
- The photo that caused raucous in the United States: at the G20 Summit, President Obama bowed before the Saudi King and kissed his hand.
Within months, three pro-Western governments have fallen in the Arab World: parliament removed Saad Hariri’s Lebanese government, while popular movements drove out Zine el-Abbidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Husni Mubarak in Egypt.
These changes have been followed by demonstrations against U.S. domination and Zionism. They politically benefit the Axis of Resistance, comprised of Iran and Syria at the state level and at the non-state level by Hezbollah and Hamas.
To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel Aviv have relied on their best support: the Sudairi clan, which embodies despotism at the service of imperialism unlike any other.
You have probably never heard of them, but for decades the Sudairi have been the world’s richest political organization.
Among the fifty-three sons of King Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, the Sudairi are the seven that he sired with Princess Sudairi. Their leader was King Fahd, who ruled from 1982 to 2005. Only six are still alive. The eldest is Prince Sultan, minister of defence since 1962, who is 85. At 71, the youngest is Prince Ahmed, deputy interior minister since 1975. Since the 60s, it was their clan that organized, structured, and funded the pro-Western puppet regimes of the “Greater Middle East.”
A look back is required here.
Saudi Arabia is a legal entity created by the British during the First World War to weaken the Ottoman Empire. Although Lawrence of Arabia had invented the concept of the “Arab nation,” he never managed to make a nation of this country, let alone a state. It was and still is the private property of the Al-Sauds. As the British inquiry on the Al-Yamamah Scandal brought to light, in the 21st century there are still no bank accounts or budget for the Kingdom. It is the accounts of the royal family that serve to administer the Kingdom, which is its private domain.
The area fell under U.S. control after the Second World War, when the United Kingdom could no longer maintain its empire. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made an agreement with King Ibn Saud: the family of Saud guaranteed oil supplies to the United States which in return guaranteed the military assistance necessary to keep the House of Saud in power. This alliance is known as the Quincy Agreement, negotiated on a ship by the same name. It is an agreement, not a treaty since it does not bind two states, but a state and a family.
The founding king, Ibn Saud, having had 32 wives and 53 sons, serious rivalries between potential successors were not slow to emerge. Thus it was decided that the crown would not be handed down from father to son, but from half-brother to half-brother.
Five of Ibn Saud’s sons have already sat on the throne. The current king, Abdullah I, 87, is a rather open-minded person, although totally out of touch with today’s realities. Aware that the current dynastic system is headed for ruin, he intends to reform the rules of succession. The crown would thus be appointed by the Council of the Kingdom – this means selected by representatives of various branches of the royal family - and could potentially go to a younger generation.
This wise idea does not suit the Sudairi. Indeed, given the various abdications to the throne for health reasons or self-indulgence, the next three candidates belong to their clan: Prince Sultan, formerly appointed Interior Minister, 85; Prince Naif, Interior Minister, 78; and Prince Salman, the governor of Riyadh, 75. If it were to be applied, the new dynastic rule would work to their disadvantage.
One can easily understand that the Sudairi, who never cared much for their half-brother, King Abdullah, hate him at present. And, also, that they have decided to throw all their forces into the current struggle.
The Return of Bandar Bush
In the late 70s, the Sudairi clan was headed by Prince Fahd, who noticed the rare qualities of one of his brother Sultan’s children: Prince Bandar. He sent him to Washington to negotiate arms contracts and was impressed by the way he handled an agreement with President Carter.
When Fahd ascended to the throne in 1982, Prince Bandar was a trusted aid. He was appointed military attaché, then ambassador to Washington, a post he held until his abrupt dismissal by King Abdullah in 2005.
The son of Prince Sultan and a Libyan slave, Prince Bandar is a brilliant and ruthless character that has distinguished himself within the royal family despite the stigma attached to his maternal origin. He is now the working arm of the gerontocratic Sudairi clan.
During his long stay in Washington, Prince Bandar befriended the Bush family, in particular George H. Bush, with whom he was inseparable. The latter likes to portray him as the son that he would have liked to have, so much so that his nickname in the capital is “Mr. Bandar Bush.” What George H. – former director of the CIA and U.S. president – appreciated most about him is his taste for illegal actions.
“Mr. Bandar Bush” made a place for himself in U.S. high society. He is both a manager for life of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Bohemian Grove. The British public first found out about him during the Al-Yamamah Scandal: the biggest arms deal in history as well as the largest corruption scandal. Over two decades (1985-2006), British Aerospace, soon renamed BAE Systems, sold $80 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia while quietly dropping a portion of this windfall into the bank accounts of Saudi politicians and probably British politicians, with $2 billion going to Prince Bandar alone.
This is because His Highness has a lot of expenses. Prince Bandar has taken over responsibility for numerous Arab fighters trained by Pakistani and Saudi intelligence during the Cold War to fight the Red Army in Afghanistan at the request of the CIA and MI6. Of course, the best known figure in this milieu was none other than billionaire guru turned anti-communist jihadist, Osama bin Laden.
It is impossible to say precisely how many men Prince Bandar has at his disposal. Over time, we have seen his involvement in many conflicts and terrorist acts across the Muslim world from Morocco to China’s Xinjiang. For example, one may recall the small army that he had planted, by the name of Fatah Al-Islam, in the Palestinian camp of Nahr el-Bared in Lebanon. The mission of these fighters was to incite the Palestinian refugees, mostly Sunnis, to proclaim an independent emirate and to fight Hezbollah. The affair turned sour when the salaries of the mercenaries were not paid on time. Ultimately, in 2007, Prince Bandar’s men entrenched themselves in the camp. 30,000 Palestinians were forced to flee, while the Lebanese army waged a two-month battle to gain control of the camp. This operation cost the lives of 50 mercenaries, 32 Palestinian civilians and 68 Lebanese soldiers.
In early 2010, Bandar staged a coup to overthrow King Abdullah and to place his father, Sultan, on the throne. The plot was discovered and Bandar left in disgrace without however losing his official titles. But in late 2010, the declining health of the king and his surgery gave the Sudairi the upper hand and they engineered Bandar’s comeback with the support of the Obama Administration.
- Saudi-Lebanese politician Saad Hariri has rallied behind the Sudairi. After his resignation as Lebanese Prime Minister three months ago, he has remained as caretaker Prime Minister and has blocked the formation of a new government ever since.
It was after having visited the king, who was hospitalized in Washington, and having concluded too quickly that he was dying, that Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri rallied to the side of the Sudairi. Saad Hariri is a Saudi, born in Riyadh, but with dual nationality. He inherited his fortune from his father, who owed everything to Saud. He is therefore obligated to the king and became Prime Minister of Lebanon at his urging, while the U.S. State Department was concerned about his ability to fill the position.
During the period when he had to obey King Abdullah, Saad Hariri began to reconcile with President Bashar al-Assad. He withdrew the accusations he had made against him about the assassination of his father, Rafik Al-Hariri, and apologized for having been manipulated to artificially create tension between Lebanon and Syria. In endorsing the Sudairi, Saad has made a political volte-face. Overnight, he renounced King Abdullah’s policy of conciliation towards Syria and Hezbollah and launched an offensive against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, for the disarmament of Hezbollah, and for a compromise with Israel.
However, King Abdullah came out of his semi-comatose state and didn’t wait long to demand accountability. Deprived of this essential support, Saad Hariri and his government were overthrown by the Lebanese Parliament in favor of Najib Mikati, another bi-national, but less adventurous, billionaire. As punishment, King Abdullah ordered a tax investigation into Hariri’s largest Saudi society and had several of his associates arrested for fraud.
The Saudiri legions
The Sudairi have decided to launch the counter-revolution in all directions.
In Egypt, where they financed Mubarak on one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand, they have now imposed an alliance between the Brotherhood and pro-U.S. army officers.
This new coalition has shared power by excluding the leaders of the revolution in Tahrir Square. It refused to convene a National Assembly and contended itself with amending the constitution marginally.
First, they declared Islam the state religion to the detriment of the Coptic Christian minority (about 10%) who were oppressed by Husni Mubarak and who mobilized en masse against him. In addition, Dr. Mahmoud Izzat, the number two of the Brotherhood, called for the rapid introduction of Sharia law and the restoration of Sharia punishment.
Young Wael Ghoneim, who had played a leading role in the overthrow of the tyrant, was barred from the podium during the victory celebrations, February 18, which rallied nearly 2 million people. Conversely, the star preacher of the Brotherhood, Youssef Al-Qardawi, returning after 30 years of exile in Qatar, was allowed to speak at length. He, who had been stripped of his citizenship by Gamal Abdel Nasser, projected himself as the incarnation of the new era: that of Sharia law and peaceful coexistence with the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv.
Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Al-Baradei, whom the Muslim Brotherhood opted as a spokesman during the revolution to give themselves a more liberal image, was physically assaulted by the same Brothers during the constitutional referendum and was ejected from the political scene.
The Muslim Brothers made their formal entry into politics through the creation of a new party, Freedom and Justice, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and by imitating the profile of the Turkish AKP (The same strategy was chosen in Tunisia with the Renaissance Party).
In this context, violent attacks were perpetrated against religious minorities. Thus two Coptic churches were burned. Far from punishing the aggressors, the Prime Minister offered them a guarantee: he dismissed the governor that he had appointed in the province of Qenna, the respected General Imad Mikhael, because he is a Coptic Christian and not a Sunni Muslim.
- The Gulf Cooperation Council (CGC) clamored for a NATO intervention in Libya and sent the Saudi army and UAE police to crush the protest in Bahrain.
In Libya, the Sudairi transferred armed fighters into Cyrenaica pending the green light from France and Britain to start the insurrection against the government of Tripoli. They are the ones who distributed weapons and the red-black-green star and crescent flags, symbols of the Senoussi monarchy. Their goal is to get rid of troublemaker Gaddafi and restore Prince Mohammed on the throne of what was once the United Kingdom of Libya.
It was the Gulf Cooperation Council that was the first to call for military intervention against the government of Tripoli. At the Security Council, it was the Saudi delegation which led the diplomatic manoeuvres for the Arab League to endorse the attacks by Western armies.
Colonel Qaddafi for his part declared in several speeches that there was no revolution in Cyrenaica, but that his country was facing an Al-Qaeda destabilization operation; claims that wrongly elicited smiles and which were personally confirmed to his great embarrassment by General Carter F. Ham, U.S. AfriCom commander. In charge of the initial U.S. military operations before being supplanted by NATO, General Ham was surprised at having to choose his targets based on information from spies on the ground who were known to have fought against the Coalition forces in Afghanistan – in short, bin Laden’s men.
Bahrain, meanwhile, presents itself as an independent kingdom since 1971. In reality, it is still a territory dominated by the British. During their rule they had chosen a Khalifa as prime minister and the position has been maintained for 40 years continuously, from the fiction of independence up until today. This is a continuum which is not displeasing to the Sudairi.
King Hamad has granted an important concession to the United States, which established its Central Command and the Fifth Fleet naval headquarters in the port of Juffair. In these circumstances, the popular demand for constitutional monarchy would imply access to real independence, the end of British rule, and the departure of U.S. forces. Such a development would certainly have a domino effect in Saudi Arabia and threaten the foundations of the system.
The Sudairi convinced the king of Bahrain to bloodily crush the hopes of the population.
- Guarantor of the established order, Prince Nayef has been the implacable Saudi Minister of the Interior and Information for the past 41 years.
On 13 March, U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates arrived in Manama to initiate the coordination of operations, which began with the entry of Saudi special forces, known as “Nayef Eagles”, under the command of Prince Nayef. Within days, all the symbols of protest were destroyed, including the public monument erected in Pearl Square. Hundreds of people died or went missing. Torture, which had been abandoned for almost a decade, was again widespread. Doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters were arrested in their hospitals, detained incommunicado, and brought before military tribunals.
But, the most important element in this terrible repression is the determination to transform a classic class struggle, between an entire population and a privileged class tied to foreign imperialism, into a sectarian conflict. The majority of Bahrainis are Shiites while the ruling family is Sunni. The Shias are seen as the vehicle of the revolutionary ideal of Ruhollah Khomeini, who was designated as a target. In one month, the "Nayef Eagles" razed 25 Shiite mosques and damaged 253 others.
21 of the main political protest leaders will soon be tried by a special court. They face the death penalty. More so than the Shiites, the monarchy is going after Ibrahim Sharif, the party chairman of the Wa’ad (a secular leftist party), whom they accuse of not playing by the rules because he is a Sunni Muslim.
Having failed to destabilize Iran, the Sudairi have concentrated their attacks against Syria.
The Destabilization of Syria
- All the revolutions staged for the media have a logo. This is for the "Syrian Revolution 2011", which appeared on Facebook.
In early February, when the country had yet to experience any demonstration, a page titled “The Syrian Revolution 2011” was created on Facebook. It called for a "Day of Wrath” on Friday 4; the call was relayed by Al Jazeera, but did not resonate anywhere. Al Jazeera deplored the lack of reaction and stigmatized Syria as the “kingdom of silence” (sic).
The name “The Syrian Revolution 2011” is puzzling: it is in English and has the characteristic of an advertising slogan. But what genuine revolutionary would think that if he fails to realize his objectives in 2011, he would simply go back home?
Even stranger, on the day of its creation this Facebook page registered more than 80,000 friends. Such enthusiasm in a few hours, followed by nothing, suggests manipulation carried out with computer software that creates multiple accounts. Especially considering that the Syrians have a moderate level of internet use and have only had access to ADSL since January 1st.
The troubles began a month later in Deraa, a rural town located at the Jordanian border and a few miles from Israel. Vandals paid adolescents to tag anti-government graffiti on the walls of the city. Local police arrested the students and treated them as criminals to the annoyance of their families. Local notables who intended to settle the dispute were turned away by the governor. The young men were beaten. Furious, the families attacked the police station to set them free. The police responded with even more brutality, killing protesters.
President Bashar Al-Assad then intervened to punish the police and the governor – a cousin whom the President had appointed to Deraa, far from the capital, to keep him out of sight. An investigation was opened to shed light on the police killings. The officials responsible for the violence have been indicted and put under bail. Ministers have apologized and offered condolences to the victims’ families on behalf of the government, gestures which have been publicly accepted.
Everything should have returned to normal, but suddenly masked snipers stationed on rooftops fired on both the crowd and at police, plunging the city into chaos.
Taking advantage of the confusion, the gunmen went outside the city to attack a government building that houses the intelligence services responsible for the observation of the Syrian Golan Heights territory occupied by Israel. The security services fired back to defend the building and its archives. There were deaths on both sides.
This type of confrontation has recurred. People sought protection from the army responding to the attackers who stormed the city. Three thousand men and tanks were deployed to protect the inhabitants. Ultimately, a battle has pitted the infiltrated fighters against the Syrian army in a scenario similar to the Lebanese army siege on Nahr Al-Bared. Except this time, the international media has distorted the facts and accused the Syrian army of attacking the people of Deraa.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Lattakia, a port which has long been the home of criminal organizations that specialize in maritime smuggling. These individuals received arms and money from Lebanon. They vandalized the downtown. The police intervened. On presidential order, the police were armed only with batons. The gangsters then unleashed war weapons, killing dozens of unarmed policemen.
The same scenario was repeated in the neighboring town of Banias, a town of less importance, but which is much more strategic because it is home to the main oil refinery in the country. This time the police used their arms and the confrontation turned into a pitched battle.
Finally, individuals in Homs, a major city, came to participate at a mosque and called their fundamentalist followers to demonstrate against “the regime that is killing our brothers in Latakia.”
Reacting to the unrest, the Syrian population descended en masse to affirm its support for the Republic. Huge demonstrations, unprecedented in the history of the country, drew hundreds of thousands of people in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia to the cry of “God, Syria, Bashar!.”
While the clashes were intensifying in the localities concerned, the police managed to stop the fighters. According to their televised confessions, they were recruited, armed, and funded by a pro-Hariri MP in Lebanon, Jamal Jarrah, which he denies.
Jamal Jarrah is a friend of Prince Bandar. His name had been cited in the case of Fatah Al-Islam in Nahr Al-Bared. He is the cousin of Ziad Jarrah, a jihadist accused by the FBI of being responsible for the hijacking of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. He is also the cousin of the Ali and Yousef Jarrah brothers, who were arrested by the Lebanese army in November 2008 for spying for Israel.
- From London and Paris, Ali Saad-al-din Bayanouni (secretary general of the Syrian section of the Muslim Brotherhood) and Abdel-Halim Khaddam (former vice president of Syria) call for Bachar el-Assad’s overthrow.
Jamal Jarrah is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he also denies. In 1982, the Brotherhood tried to seize power in Syria. They failed and became victims of a terrible repression. Since the amnesty proclaimed by President Bashar Al-Assad it was believed that these painful memories had been forgotten. On the contrary, this branch of the Brothers is now funded by the Sudairi. The role of the Banias Brotherhood in the clashes has now been acknowledged by all.
Allegedly, Jamal Jarrah also used Lebanese Hizb ut-Tahrir militants, an Islamist organization based in London and especially active in Central Asia. Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates non-violence, is accused of masterminding many attacks in the Ferghana Valley. It was with the intention of curbing this group that China began its rapprochement with Russia within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Despite much debate in the House of Commons about the group, its representatives in London have never been inconvenienced and they all occupy positions as high-level executives in Anglo-American multinationals.
Last year, Hizb ut-Tahrir opened a branch in Lebanon. On that occasion, it organized a conference to which foreign dignitaries were invited, including a Russian intellectual of international repute. During discussions, the organizers called for the establishment of an Islamic state, stating that Lebanese Shiites, Druze, and even some Sunnis are not real Muslims and should be expelled like the Christians. Flabbergasted by such outrageous remarks, the Russian guest promptly gave television interviews to disassociate himself from these fanatics.
At first, Syrian security forces appeared to be overwhelmed by events. Trained in the U.S.S.R., senior officers used force without worrying about the consequences on the population. But the situation was gradually reversed. President Bashar Al-Assad took control of the situation. He changed the government. He repealed the state of emergency and dissolved the State Security Court. He granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds who were historically denied citizenship because of a disputed census. In addition, he took a number of other measures, such as repealing the fines for late payment of public utilities (electricity, etc.). In doing so, he satisfied the main demands of the population and mitigated opposition. On the “Day of Rage” (Friday, May 6) the overall number of protesters in the country did not reach 50,000 people out of a population of 22 million.
Specifically, Mohammed Al-Sha’ar, the new interior minister, called for anyone who was involed in the riots to report voluntarily to the police and be granted amnesty in exchange for complete cooperation. Over 1,100 people responded. Within days, the principal conduits were dismantled and many weapons caches seized. After five weeks of violence, calm slowly returned to almost all the troubled cities.
Among the ringleaders identified and arrested, several were Israeli or Lebanese officers and one was a politician with close ties to Saad Hariri. This attempt at destabilization has a sequel.
- Within the Saudi government, the Sudairi took advantage of King Abdallah’s illness to marginalize him. With U.S. and Israeli support, they thwarted the rapprochement between Abdallah and al-Assad and conduct the Arab counter-revolution.
An open conspiracy
What was originally a plot to overthrow the Syrian regime turned into open blackmail through destabilization. Realizing that the revolt was not picking up steam, the anti-Syrian Arab press shamelessly echoed the negotiations that were in progress.
They reported the visits of negotiators going to Damascus to present the requirements of the Sudairi. If we are to believe the newspapers, the violence will not stop until Bashar Al-Assad bends to two requirements:
break with Iran; and
stop supporting the resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.
The Sudairi want a Western military intervention to end the Syrian resistance, along similar lines as the aggression which is unfolding in Libya. To do this, they mobilized propaganda specialists.
To everyone’s surprise, the satellite TV station Al Jazeera abruptly changed its editorial line. It is no secret that the station was created by David and Jean Frydman, the French billionaire brothers who were counsellors to Ytzakh Rabin and Ehud Barak. They wanted to create a medium that allowed a debate between Israelis and Arabs, since such a debate was forbidden by law in each of the countries concerned.
To set up the network, they called on the Emir of Qatar who initially acted as a cover. The drafting team was recruited among the BBC’s Arabic Service, so that from the beginning the majority of journalists were leading British MI6 agents.
However, the Emir took political control of the network, which became the working arm of his monarchy. For years, Al Jazeera has indeed played a role of appeasement by promoting dialogue and understanding in the region. But the network has also contributed to trivializing the Israeli system of apartheid, as if the violent methods emplyed by IDF were merely unfortunate blunders on the part of a basically acceptable regime, whereas they constitute the essence of the regime itself.
Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt was outstanding, abruptly changed its editorial line with the Libyan case to become the mouthpiece of the Sudairi.
This about-face deserves an explanation. The attack on Libya was originally a Franco-British plan conceived in November 2010, i.e. well before the “Arab Spring,” in which the U.S. has been involved. Paris and London intended to settle scores with Tripoli and defend their colonial interests. Indeed, in 2005-2006, the Libya National Oil Company (NOC) had launched three international tenders for exploration and exploitation of its reserves, the largest in Africa. Colonel Gaddafi had imposed his own game rules on Western companies, forcing them to accept agreements that were hardly advantageous in their eyes. They even represented the less favourable contracts to multinationals worldwide. In addition, there were several disputes related to the cancellation of lucrative contracts for equipment and armament.
From the earliest days of the alleged Benghazi uprising, Paris and London set up the Transition National Council that France officially acknowledged as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. This Council has created a new oil company, the LOC, which was recognized by the international community at the London summit as the holder of the rights to the country’s hydrocarbons. During the gathering, it was decided that the marketing of oil stolen by the LOC would be done by ... Qatar, and that the contact group of allied states would henceforth meet in Doha.
- According to Youssef Al-Qardawi, the liberation of Palestine is less important than the establishment of Sharia law.
On cue, tele-evangelist Youssef Al-Qardawi started howling for the overthrow of President Bashar Al-Assad on a daily basis. Sheikh Al-Qardawi is president of the International Union of Scholars and also of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. He is the icon of the Muslim Brotherhood and preaches for an original brand of Islam, a mix of U.S. “market democracy” and Saudi obscurantism: he recognizes the principle of elected officials provided they undertake to enforce the Sharia in its most limited interpretation.
Youssef Al-Qardawi was joined by Saudi cleric Saleh Al-Luhaidan who urged: “kill a third of Syrians so the other two-thirds may live” (sic). Kill one-third of the Syrian population? That would imply slaying the Christians, Jews, Shiites, Druze and Alawite. So that two-thirds may live? That would amount to establishing a Sunni state before it cleanses its own kind.
To date, only the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, appears to resist the seductive power of the Sudairi petro-dollars. Its leader, Khaled Meshaal, not without a moment’s hesitation, confirmed he would remain in exile in Damascus vowing his support for President Al-Assad. With the latter’s help, he preempted imperialist and Zionist plans by negotiating an agreement with Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas.
Since March, Al-Jazeera, BBC Arabic, and Arabic France24 have turned into massive propaganda organs. By multiplying false testimonies and and manipulated images, they spin events to make the Syrian Republic look like the Tunisian regime of Ben Ali.
They have attempted to portray the Syrian army as a force of repression similar to the Tunisian police, one which does not hesitate to fire on peaceful citizens fighting for their freedom. These networks have even announced the death of a young soldier who refused to fire on his fellow citizens and was allegedly tortured to death by his superiors. In fact, the Syrian army is a conscript army, and the young soldier whose vital statistics had been published was actually on leave. In an interview with Syrian television, he affirmed his willingness to defend his country against foreign mercenaries.
Furthermore, these satellite channels have tried to portray several Syrian personalities as profiteers, just like Ben-Ali’s in-laws. They have focused their criticism on Rami Makhlouf, the richest man in the country, who is a cousin of President Al-Assad. They claimed that like the Tunisian model he demanded shares in all foreign companies wishing to do business in the country. This is absolutely unfounded and unimaginable in the Syrian context. In reality, Rami Makhlouf has enjoyed the confidence of President Al-Assad due to his role in establishing a cell phone network. Like anyone who has obtained such concessions in the world, he became a billionaire. The real question is whether or not they used their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers. The answer is no: Syriatel offers the cheapest cellular phone rates in the world!
At any rate, the prize for lying goes to Al Jazeera. The network went so far as to present images of a demonstration of 40,000 people in Moscow calling for the end of Russia’s support for Syria. It was actually footage shot during the annual May 1 celebrations, in which the network had planted actors to make fake statements.
The Reorganization of Prince Bandar’s networks and the Obama Administration
The counter-revolution device used by the Sudairi is up against one difficulty. Until now Prince Bandar’s mercenaries had fought under the banner of Osama bin Laden, whether in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya or elsewhere. Initially considered an anti-communist, Bin Laden had gradually become anti-Western. His shift was influenced by the ideology of the Clash of Civilizations that was expounded by Bernard Lewis and popularized by his student Samuel Huntington. It experienced its era of glory with the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the War on Terrorism: Bandar’s men fomented disorder wherever the United States wanted to intervene.
In the current period, the image of the jihadists needs to be changed. They are now expected to fight alongside NATO, as they once fought alongside the CIA in Afghanistan against the Red Army. It is therefore advisable to revert to the pro-Western discourse of the past and to find a substitute for anti-communism. This will be the ideological task of Sheikh Youssef al-Qardawi.
To facilitate this makeover, Washington has announced the official death of Osama bin Laden. With their father figure gone, the mercenaries of Prince Bandar can be mobilized under a new banner.
This redistribution of roles is accompanied by a game of musical chairs in Washington.
General David Petraeus, who as commander of CENTCOM was to deal with the men of Bandar in the Middle East, became the director of the CIA. We must therefore expect an accelerated withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan and greater involvement of Bandar’s people in the secret operations of the CIA.
Leon Panetta, the outgoing director of the CIA, became the secretary of defence. According to the internal agreement of the U.S. ruling class, this post should be reserved for a member of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. Panetta, like Gates, was a member. In the case of new wars, he would limit ground deployment, except for Special Forces.
In Riyadh and Washington they have already drafted the death certificate of the “Arab Spring.” The Sudairi can say about the Middle East what Il Gattopardo (the Leopard) used to say about Italy: “everything must change so that everything can stay the same and we can remain masters.”
Translated from French by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.