CIA’s history of dividing the Arab World
By Wayne Madsen
August 9, 2014
by Wayne Madsen
(WMR)—The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which also calls itself the “Islamist State” and is led by former Abu Ghraib prison detainee Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released from U.S. detention in 2004, would not be in existence had the CIA abandoned its policy of creating Islamic extremist groups to sow dissension in the Middle East.
After training and arming Sunni Islamist guerrillas in Turkey, Jordan, and post-Muammar Qaddafi Libya to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, CIA- and Saudi-nurtured jihadist insurgents have taken over large portions of eastern Syria, northern Iraq—including Kurdish regions—and are now moving into Lebanon. Targets of the ISIL forces are Kurds, Yazidis, Turkomans, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, and Shi’a Muslims. These minority religious groups are witnessing their members being slaughtered and their religious shrines and places of worship destroyed by the ISIL radicals who hew to the Wahhabist line dominant in Saudi Arabia.
Islamist mercenaries from the West would not be flocking to join the ranks of ISIL if it were not for the support given them by Saudi national security adviser Prince Bandar bin Sultan, whose fingerprints are all over the 9/11 false flag attack on the United States. Nor would Kurdish towns and dams on the Euphrates River be falling to ISIL forces if it were not for the tacit support given umbrella jihadist guerrilla groups in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey by CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan is probably the only senior member of the Obama administration who has been to Islam’s holiest shrine in Mecca, something that is only permitted for devout Muslims or “special guests” of the Saudi monarch. Brennan is a former CIA station chief in Riyadh and he is a confirmed Saudophile, a close friend and supporter of the misogynistic and arcane Saudi kingdom.
Brennan’s operations on behalf of anti-Christian and anti-Shi’a Islamist radicals would not have been possible without the diplomatic cover provided to him by the female duo of National Security Adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power, both students of the George Soros “responsibility to protect” (R2P) school of thought. R2P, in reality, is nothing more than a baked-over neoconservative interventionist foreign policy trimmed with “humanitarian” intentions.
A formerly SECRET CIA reference guide, titled “Islam and Politics: A Compendium,” dated April 1984, outlines the agency’s divide and conquer policies in the Muslim and Arab worlds. Issued when Brennan was a junior-ranking CIA case officer fluent in Arabic, the CIA document, produced by the Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis branch, stressed the importance of the most radical of Muslims being natural allies of the CIA in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Middle East and South Asia.
America’s dalliance with extreme Islam reached its pinnacle in the mujaheddin war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The CIA’s involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s gave rise to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the latter spawning various Islamist groups now wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Mali, Somalia, and other countries.
The CIA document’s description of fundamentalist Islam could have been drafted by the pro-Wahhabist Brennan himself. The adoption of draconian Shariah law by Muslim countries is described by the CIA as “constitutional reform.” The CIA states that fundamentalists merely “want society restructured to protect the underprivileged and to institutionalize an equitable distribution of the fruits of labor.” In reality, it was the socialist government in Afghanistan supported by the USSR that assisted the underprivileged and provided gender and ethnic equality to the Afghan people. On the other hand, it was the Saudi-supported mujaheddin that wanted Afghanistan transformed into a backward fundamentalist “emirate” practicing Shariah law. And that is exactly what Afghanistan became when the CIA-supported Taliban seized control of the country in the early 1990s. Now, the CIA is watching over the same “Talibanization” process, financed by Saudi Arabia, taking place in Iraq and Syria.
The CIA document also refers to Islamist fundamentalist leaders as the “just ruler” who serves his populace. Fundamentalists are also described as condemning “lax morals of contemporary society” and standing in opposition to the “breakdown of family unity, deviation from the dietary prohibitions of Islam, the immodest dress of females, and the mingling of the sexes in school and commerce.”
Nowhere in the CIA document is it mentioned that senior Taliban leaders, many schooled in England’s best universities, never gave up their liking for Scotch whiskey, particularly Johnnie Walker Black. Nor does the CIA’s “intelligence” primer discuss the drunken debauchery that younger male members of the Saudi royal family often engaged in while visiting London, Paris, Rome, and Marbella on the Spanish Costa del Sol. In fact, the CIA manual of political Islam appears to have been drafted by Saudi Arabia’s senior imams.
Rather than pointing out that the CIA’s royal friends in the Persian Gulf financially supported the radical Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East and abroad, the CIA document states: “We have little evidence that the innumerable groups of religious revivalists calling themselves the Muslim Brotherhood that exist not only in the Arab states but in such non-Arab countries as West Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Malaysia are linked in any way. It may only be the name that is the common feature.”
In fact, the CIA, itself, was a major link between such radical groups as part of its recruitment and support efforts for the mujaheddin forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, operations that involved Brennan. The name of the CIA analyst who wrote the monkeyshine about the Muslim Brotherhood, which is described as a “secret society,” is redacted, however, such a bogus analysis could have easily come from the pen of John Brennan.
In its discussion of Islamic Sectarianism, the CIA document only refers to two branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia, even though there are a number of others. Moreover, the following is how the CIA viewed the Islamic split: “To the Sunni (which the CIA describes as “more flexible,” as if the Saudi Wahhabis could be “flexible” to any degree) or secular leadership in countries such as Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Kuwait, Shias have been perceived as a politically destabilizing threat that must be dealt with—sometimes delicately, sometimes with political repression.” Sufism is dismissed by the CIA as a “heretical” form of Islam, even though it had strong roots in West Africa, particularly in Mali and northern Nigeria, before the CIA-enabled radical Sunni groups like Ansar Dine and Boko Haram, armed with weapons captured from the CIA-instigated civil war in Libya, destroyed Sufi shrines in Timbuktu, Gao, and Kidal and killed Sufi adherents.
The CIA also wrongly attributed militant Islam to Iran and Libya while ignoring the support of Saudi Arabia for the most militant forms of Sunni Islam. In fact, Libya in 1984 was a socialist and largely secular regime that opposed the Wahhabist Islam then being exported by the Saudis.
The document also focuses in on the major factor that attracted the CIA to radical Sunni Islam: “The Arab secular regimes, which have never recognized Islam as a basis for government—the Ba’thist socialists of Syria and Iraq, the embattled regime of divided and war-torn Lebanon, and Marxist South Yemen—all face in varying degrees the threat of politicized Islam undermining their unpopular regimes.”
The CIA wrongly concluded that secular and socialist regimes were “unpopular” with their people, when, in fact, the opposite was true. The CIA’s tilt to Sunni radicalism as opposed to secular governance in the Arab world was a result of the Cold War “black-and-white” view of the world by the neoconservatives who penetrated the Ronald Reagan administration from top to bottom. In the world of the neocons, there was but one form of Islam—the most radical variety—that was the ally of the United States against monolithic communism and socialism. That mindset would continue to destabilize the world long after the end of the Cold War.
The CIA’s doctrine, as seen in the 1984 reference guide, has been pro-radical Sunni and very anti-Shia. The overthrow of moderate Sunni regimes in Libya and Iraq, followed by CIA support for anti-Shia and anti-Alawite jihadists supported by the Saudis and Muslim Brotherhood elements funded by Qatar and Turkey is a direct outgrowth of the CIA’s misguided analysis of political Islam from the Cold War era. The CIA has provided Saudi, as well as Zionist propaganda, to U.S. policy makers in the guise of “intelligence.” And, today, the Middle East burns because of the CIA’s erroneous intelligence.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).