This is the second of a four-part essay series hosted here on the YAL blog which will address the alliances between the US government and sponsors of international terrorism. Read Part 1 here, and stay tuned for the next two parts, which will publish daily this week.
The Saudis' walk alone?
The connection between the Saudi government and terrorist organizations was a rule was not discussed during the preparations for war with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, or Afghanistan. Indeed, if the same scrutiny had been given to the real information about Saudi connections to terror networks as was given to the false information used as a pretext for war with Iraq, then history may have played out quite differently.
Instead, the United States has over the past 20 years brokered record defense and armament deals with the House of Saud. In 2010, for example, a record $60 billion arms deal was brokered between the Obama Administration and the Saudi Arabia. Then, in 2013, when the United States did not follow through with war against the Assad regime, the House of Saud unilaterally and openly supported the Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army, who until recently were allied with ISIL (previously known as ISIS), the radical group disavowed by even al-Qaeda which is now sweeping through Iraq.
It should also be noted that based on reports from hostages and reporters on the ground, the distinction between members of the Free Syrian Army and International jihadist forces are exceedingly unclear. Some have even gone so far as to infer that the Free Syrian Army, supported by US ally Saudi Arabia, is nothing more than a front group for outright terrorist organizations.
Is it too much of a stretch to say that, through the Saudi arms deal and similar support, the US government/NATO have essentially funded terrorism while providing themselves with plausible deniability? Senator Rand Paul has made precisely this charge:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the Sunni militants taking over Iraq have quickly gained power because the United States armed their allies in Syria.
“I think we have to understand first how we got here,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” "I think one of the reasons why ISIS has been emboldened is because we have been arming their allies. We have been allied with ISIS in Syria."
Yet the duplicitous nature of these deals don't stop here—learning from experience is not Washington's style. The State Department has brokered a