No, that’s not a typo. Nor is it an over-fifty moment. I’m hardly confusing Sunnis with Shiites.
For several decades now, the Saudi Princes have been systematically exterminating their own people. Not only that. They have been systematically exterminating young Sunni men, and occasionally a young Sunni woman, in the flower of their youth.
In the twenty-first century, it’s hard to know which is the greater crime: genocide, or exterminating your own people. The Nazis did both, but for a relatively short period of time. The House of Saud has been doing the latter for decades.
Of course it would deny all this. If you asked a Saudi Prince, he would say the untimely deaths are unfortunate unintended consequences, what we Yanks call “collateral damage.”
But as our great Yankee jurist Oliver Wendell Homes once said, people are presumed to intend the natural consequences of their acts. And one natural consequence of the House of Saud’s longstanding acts and policies is killing Sunnis, lots of them.
In fact, the House of Saud has developed a whole system of institutions, policies and practices that turn innocent Sunni youth into instruments of death, others’ and their own. Here’s how it works.
It all begins with Saudi Arabia’s anachronistic system of government. Although it appears to be a “soft” tyranny, the House of Saud has built one of the most successful totalitarian states in the twentieth century, a tyranny to rival North Korea’s.
If you were to rank it on a scale of modernity, self-determination and compassion for its people, it would rank far below China. Even were you to grade it generously, it would barely outrank North Korea and Zimbabwe.
It would do so only because Saudi Arabia has a pseudo-modern economy and a much higher standard of living than these political basket cases. It manages to maintain its people’s relative wealth with oil money: the money that our species pays to drive its cars has become the Sauds’ principal instrument of oppression.
Saudi Arabia also has a few more noticeable deficiencies. It relegates most everyone not of royal blood to second-class citizenship. It forces its masses of hard-working immigrants (including Filipinos and Indians) into conditions of indentured servitude that often resemble slavery. And it relegates women—one half our human species—to a status not much higher than we Yanks and our European counterparts reserve for dogs and cats.
How does the House of Saud get away with all this in the twenty-first century?
Three ways. First, it has the largest oil reserves of any single nation, regardless of size. It was those reserves, and little else, that led Dubya to walk literally hand in hand with the late King Abdullah. Oil is getting scarcer, and the world is looking hard for alternatives, but oil still makes the world go ’round. And, by a fluke of geography and a cruel joke of Nature, one of the most backward regimes on the planet still controls more oil than any other single nation.
Second, after some flirtation with oil politics in the seventies, the House of Saud follows our Yankee gospel of free oil trade, reducing the incentive for major powers to wage war over scarce natural resources, as they did in the last century. Third—and most important to our theme here—it doesn’t permit terrorism or even dissent within its borders. It exports them.
The killing of Sunnis flows from this third point. For decades now, the House of Saud has made a Faustian bargain with Sunni extremists. Preach only mildly within our borders, it told them, and support our absolute royal rule, and you can preach whatever you want elsewhere. You can proselytize and even kill whomever you want, as long as you do it elsewhere. And we will support and finance you as you do.
So the House of Saud has used its oil money to found, build, finance, and operate a widespread system of madrassas, all outside of Saudi Arabia. These so-called “schools” teach Sunni boys (seldom girls!) the Qur’an, extremism, and hate, but no useful skills.
Not only do these schools turn young, innocent minds into jihadis and terrorists. They give them no alternative. What else can you do if you don’t know math, science, engineering or history, or even how to read
anything other than religious tracts in Arabic? Extremists flow naturally from this gigantic system of schools that teach bellicose propaganda more effectively, and more relentlessly, than ever the Nazis or Soviets did.
And so the massacre of innocents began. From the very first airline hijacking in the 1970s, through the bombing of our barracks in Lebanon during the Reagan Era, through the embassy bombings and 9/11, and including virtually every act of terrorism against Israel, Sunni extremists, encouraged and sometimes funded by the House of Saud, have wreaked terror worldwide for four decades. It is absolutely no coincidence that majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.
Not only does the House of Saud permit
and (indirectly) encourage all this. It finances it. The system is not quite global: there aren’t many Saudi-financed madrassas, for example, in the US, the EU or Latin America. But go where the carnage is—for example, in South Asia or the Middle East—and you will find them dotting the landscape like pustules on a smallpox victim.
Occasionally, when it can avoid getting its fingerprints on the carnage, the House of Saud finances the actual terrorism, or the organizations that perpetrate or finance it. It calls this “Islamic charity.”
What is the natural consequence of these acts? Well, look around the Islamic world. Where are Sunnis dying, and in large numbers, and why? For the last decade, they have been dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, which we Yanks invaded (misguidedly) solely because of 9/11. More recently, after we Yanks elected a better leader, they have been dying at retail, not wholesale, at the hands of our drones and ninjas. Now they are dying in droves in Syria at Assad’s hands, with the aid of Russian and Iranian weapons.
So let’s review the chain of causation. The Saudi Princes stamp out any chance for change or social progress in their medieval monarchy by exporting terrorism abroad. They cultivate, grow and finance extremists and terrorists as farmers grow vegetables, but only outside their monarchy.
The terrorists are virtually all Sunnis—the very people the House of Saud so disingenuously claims to protect and defend. They mostly kill innocent Shiites and Westerners. Then the Shiites and Westerners, who don’t like their compatriots and loved ones being killed for what strikes them as no good reason, kill Sunnis in return.
And so the Saudis preserve their anachronistic tyranny by causing Sunnis to kill and be killed. It is the most effective, insidious and persistent sui-genocide since the Nazi death camps, albeit more subtle and working at a lower rate.
We Yanks are far from the only ones caught up in this unfortunate chain of causation. Nor is Western Europe.
Think of Syria. Assad and his minority Alawites are busy slaughtering, displacing and oppressing majority Sunnis with advanced Russian weapons. Why is Russia supplying the weapons? Does Putin really admire Assad?
Russia provides those weapons for two reasons. First, it has become a long-time friend of Iran, ever since
we Yanks overthrew Iran’s duly elected prime minister and later incited Saddam to wage an eight-year devastating war with Iran. Second, and more important lately, Russia remembers Chechnya, Beslan and the Nord-Ost Theater in Moscow—all examples of Sunni terrorism against Russia itself.
Virtually all Islamic terrorism directed against Russia has been perpetrated by Sunnis, as it has against us and Europe. Shiite Iran supports and arms Sunni
terrorists against Israel
, primarily, in my view
, to have a safe place to test its weapons development at others’ suffering and expense. But, to my knowledge, there has not been a single notable instance of terrorism perpetrated against the West, Russia or Israel by Shiites. And Iran is far too smart to sponsor or perpetrate terrorism against so powerful and friendly a neighbor as Russia.
So Russia not only picked up our once Cold-War friend Iran after we jilted it for Saudi oil and incited Saddam to attack it. Russia supports Iran in Syria because Iran is the great Shiite power and a millennial enemy of Sunnis, and because (according to Middle Eastern logic) the enemy of Russia’s enemy is its friend.
Lately, the cooperation between Russia and Iran has become even more diabolical, from a Sunni point of view. Why are Russia and Iran helping Assad reduce his own country to rubble, to bomb and shell it back to the Stone Age? Why haven’t they been forcing Assad to the bargaining table to make peace?
The answer appears after only a moment’s reflection. Syria has become a killing field for Sunni terrorists in general, and for Al Qaeda in particular. Assad’s secular tyranny and unequal slaughter attracts jihadis from all over the world. So do Saudi propaganda and money. Once they get to Syria, Assad’s forces slaughter them, using advanced Russian weapons.
The House of Saud of course would claim that it is using the jihadis it sponsors to fight Assad. But the Saudi Princes are not stupid men. They have controlled the global oil economy with intelligence and subtlety for four decades, ever since they stopped using oil for religious politics and started using it to maintain their medieval monarchy and get rich. Think they don’t know full well what is really
going on in Syria today?
With one exception, no band of Sunni terrorists manufactured by the House of Saud has ever succeeded in overthrowing a single real government, let alone establishing the elusive and anachronistic “Islamic Caliphate” that extremist imams claim to promise. The sole exception is in Afghanistan, where the Taliban ruled briefly, and then only because they allied themselves with more secular and cynical warlords.
The reason is obvious now, in Egypt, among other places. Even devout Islamic majorities don’t want the extremism that the Saudi Princes have exported to save their skins and their Yanukovych-like luxury.
All the Saudi-manufactured terrorists have done so far is kill a lot of innocent people and wreak a lot of havoc. The House of Saud knows this. Apparently it is content, if not happy, that none of the havoc it has created has touched it, at least not yet.
And so we may have the “final solution” to the problem of Sunni terrorism. The Saudi death machine, having manufactured jihadis and terrorists in its network of madrassas, is sponsoring and encouraging sending them to Syria, where Assad systematically exterminates them, with advanced weapons supplied by Russia and Iran that they can never hope to match.
Russia and Iran supply the means to dispose of the House of Saud’s most dangerous enemies in an effective but utterly cynical way. And it all started with the House of Saud exporting terror to preserve its twisted monarchy in a medieval time warp.
And who’s to say the Saudi Princes are not, in private, laughing over their un-Islamic booze, as they watch the good money they spend on supporting jihad in Syria create this “final solution,” after all the bad
money they wasted on exporting terrorism to Russia and their best customers, the West.
The late bin Laden knew the score. He knew that the House of Saud was and is Sunni Islam’s worst enemy. He wanted to overthrow it, but he thought he had to beat us Yanks first. He believed that only our might as a superpower sustained the Saudi regime.
But bin Laden was wrong on two counts. First, as the leader of a ragtag band of fanatics, he was in no position to bring down the world’s greatest superpower, although he did succeed in bringing down the Twin Towers and making us Yanks very, very angry. Now bin Laden has paid the ultimate price, but the Saudi Princes still live, laugh and prosper.
Second, bin Laden was wrong about the source of Sunni misery and weakness. It wasn’t us Yanks. It was Saudi duplicity, guile, selfishness and stupidity. We Yanks just went along for the oil.
With friends like the Saudis, who needs enemies? We Yanks certainly don’t, not with shale oil getting us closer and closer to true energy independence. Nor do Sunnis.
Some day the parts of the world that the Saudi Princes now manipulate so successfully—and so tragically—will come to appreciate the depths of their duplicity, and the House of Saud will vanish from this Earth. If Saudi Arabia didn’t hold Islam’s holiest shrines—Mecca, Medina and the Kaaba—it would have happened a long time ago. But even geography can’t restrain common sense, or righteous vengeance, forever.
[In my next essay on this general theme, I’ll explore whether Iran might make a better friend than Saudi Arabia, and the chances for our ending our Little Cold War with Iran and making it so.]
For a more complete explanation of this rationale, click here
. An alternative explanation of Iran’s support for terrorism against Israel
is Iran’s desire to maintain its Islamic credentials in the Arab
“street,” and thereby to tamp down the impetus for a Shiite/Sunni Armageddon. But as Sunni extremists come into armed conflict with Shiites in Syria and Lebanon, and with secularists in Egypt, the notion of appeasing them by financing and aiding Palestinian terrorism becomes increasingly quixotic. Sooner or later, Iranian leaders, who are among the smartest and subtlest in the Middle East
, will figure this out.