Confirmed: US Knew That Gulf Allies Were Backing ISIS and Other Jihadis

Allies of the American government fund enemies of the American people, including ISIS. The US government knew about it and maintains those alliances anyway. Just another day in the life of the empire.

The Story

Newly leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman confirm that the US knew that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funding terrorist groups in the Middle East, including ISIS. And this fact was known at least as early as summer of 2014–before the US officially started its bombing campaign in Syria but after the latest round of intervention in Iraq commenced.

Read Patrick Cockburn’s take at The Independent, which places the new evidence in the proper context:

We finally know what Hillary Clinton knew all along – US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding Isis

Why This Matters

This story offers another glimpse into the clear absurdity of US foreign policy.

On the one hand, US politicians speak of the dire need to confront the terrorist threat posed by ISIS. But on the other hand, many of these same politicians refuse to even criticize the “allied” nations that are funding the very same terrorist group.

This episode illustrates the clear need to avoid entangling alliances whenever possible. It should be abundantly clear that the US and the other Gulf states do not have the same interests in the Middle East. To the extent that there’s any threat to the American people at all, that threat clearly comes from terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. The regimes of Syria and Iran may be repressive, but no serious person can argue either of those countries is going to try starting a war with the US. The security interest of the US is therefore best fulfilled by diminishing the influence and prevalence of terrorist groups.

Of course, different people will disagree on how best to reduce the power of terrorist groups–and in the current environment, few powerful people are likely to endorse the noninterventionist approach that I would advocate. That said, no one would argue that actively funding terrorist groups is the key to undermining them. And yet in practice, when one accounts for the actions of US allies in the region, that is exactly what we are doing.

At first blush, it sounds like a conspiracy theory. But no, it’s just a quietly acknowledged fact about Middle East politics. And it works pretty well for the weapons manufacturers that profit from chaos and the extremist groups that benefit directly. For the actual American people, not so much.

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