Didn't you just love it when President George W. Bush walked hand in hand with his favorite Saudi potentate ???
That's Prince Abdullah. One unknown is which of them had the sweatier palms....
Thing is, that personal closeness was matched by Saudi duplicity.
We know now that Saudi actions included financing what became ISIS both in Iraq and in Syria over a ten year period. Based on flow of support, military actions to overthrow the Shi'ia Assad government in Syria became the #1 priority for Saudi Arabia from 2008 to present.
Now, as of the last two weeks, ISIS frustrations in Iraq have led to mass murders of Sunni civilians at Ramadi and at Hit/Heet in Anbar Province. ISIS has not won a battle since June, 2014. Here's what happens. These 46 victims are all Sunnis, not a single Shi'ia in the bunch. At Hit/Heet in Iraq:
The other site with 220+ bodies in mass graves is up at Ramadi. All Sunni.
Anyway, going back to 2005 when all this was getting started, this Prince Abdullah promoted Bandar bin Sultan ("Bandar Bush") to head their National Security Council.
George and Bandar have a unique personal connection: not only do they both have wealthy powerful fathers, they were crappy fighter pilots who crashed jet aircraft through pilot error and survived the experience.
How many of you have done that?
All through the Iraq War the Saudis provided support for lethal anti-Shi'ia organizations in Iraq and Syria. Thousands of bombings of Shi'ia civilians were carried out. While nominally allies to the United States and overlapping the tail end of the period (1983-2005) where Prince Bandar served in Washington, D.C. as Ambassador to the United States, money went to finance Al Qaeda in Iraq. The bombings killed Shi'ia civilians by the tens of thousands as well as hundreds of American service members.
"The Surge" and How AQI Became ISIS
All of which led to dominance for Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in the period 2003 to 2006. AQI was effectively a Saudi proxy.
"Play both sides" ??? Why not?
A Pentagon study in August, 2006 led by Col. Peter Devlin concluded that the U.S. military had lost Anbar Province to AQI.
"The social and political situation has deteriorated to a point that MNF [Multi-National Forces] and ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar... Underlying this decline in stability is the near complete collapse of social order in al-Anbar."
Further, the key failure for US/MNF was identified as applying "short war" approaches to a "long war" problem. Our service members did not learn Arabic. Intelligence went to tips from locals, usually with no evidence. We came as tourists.
Nothing was tailored to match the realities of tribal politics, which is what goes for "local" in Iraq.
So of course, going into 2007, President Bush chose to go with another "short war" tactic.
This meant a quickie ramping up of manpower from 150,000 to 170,000 service members in-country. Head count maxxed in January, 2007, followed by steady decline. "The Surge" produced yet another bloodbath at Fallujah and a sweep of northwest Baghdad. These actions killed very few AQI fighters. They ran away, usually after firing mortars to draw down US/MNF artillery barrages on residential areas.
Parts of Fallujah and NW Baghdad looked like the up hill parts of Beirut back in the 1980s. That was when President Reagan pounded them with naval shells. Really a mess. Houses wrecked by the dozens and fires that burned for weeks. Thankfully "The Surge" didn't have use of battleship New Jersey and its 16" guns. And this time around the Air Force refused to drop heavy ordnance on rows of houses.
One thing that worked, Gen. Petraeus took account of the Iraqi tribal structure by handing out $30,000,000 a month in bribes to tribal leaders. The man has a talent at bribery. That money was a good investment, buying temporary loyalty.
But "The Surge" didn't kill the AQI fighters. They took fewer than 2,000 casualties while civilians lost between 20,000 and 50,000 depending on who does the estimates. That's a 2% loss for AQI.
Nothing that mattered.
AQI decamped to rural Iraq and then across the border into Syria. As a major drought took hold of Syria in 2008-2012, AQI renamed itself ISIS, aka Da'ish. They never did much fighting Assad, but rather used the Saudi money to take over local militias. They also brought in fighters from North Africa and Europe. And the Chechens.
Eventually in 2012 Prince Bandar became head the Saudi version of the CIA. That is called variously Al-Mabahith Al Aammah or the Riasat al-Istikhbarat al-Amah (Arabic: رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة), or the GIP for General Intelligence Presidency. (If someone can sort that out, please feel free to add a comment.)
Deals were cut that provided ISIS with large numbers of antiaircraft guns (20mm and 23mm) and artillery pieces and communications gear. Perfect for Blitzkrieg assaults as modeled by Gen. Heinz Guderian and later developed to a theory of war by the American John Boyd. "Mobile and hostile" to the max.
ISIS asserted control over much of central and eastern Syria. They perfected an attack plan that starts with a chain of bomb-carrying cars driven by suicide-bombers. The chain goes in single file and breaks up the defender's front line. Then the ISIS anti-aircraft guns overpower machine gun bunkers and infantry.
(Yes, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain could have alleviated the Syrian drought by sending in a few tens of millions of dollars in charity money. Keeping the lamb feed lots going with grain imports would have spared a generation of Syrian kids from malnutrition/famine. No, that's not what they wanted.)
ISIS and the Toyota Task Force
Come June of 2014, ISIS used bribery to facilitate conquest of Mosul in Iraq. As well, they grabbed off the west side of Tikrit and pushed attack groups through Hit/Heet, Fallujah and Ramadi. That expansion reached as far as Jurf al-Sakhar, situated between Baghdad and Karballa to the south.
Another bribery event led to capture of some 500 to 700 young Air Force cadets at Tikrit. They were executed. Yes, there are pictures online. Very similar to what's above.
Mass murder is one calling card for psychopaths. Looks to be that's what ISIS recruited over the last three or four years. The Arab world and Muslim communities worldwide have seen their crazies go off to kill people for ISIS.
By July 18th in Tikrit the Shi'ia military professionals had started to roll back ISIS. The western side of Tikrit was recaptured, that after surrounding the area to prevent escapes. Then Amerli and now Jurf al-Sakhar have been retaken with similar "surround and annihilate" tactics. Major credit to Gen. Suleimani and the system he developed for al-Qusayr, Syria in 2012.
The original plan for Shi'ia military action called for a large scale counterattack by mid-October. You'd have to expect a logistics nightmare for such an operation -- support for an army as large as what Eisenhower sent in with "Overlord" plus several hundred thousand militiamen set up to protect civilian areas. That was published in Baghdad and in Tehran.
But then the air strikes from Al Asad and Tikrit (three air fields) and the American strikes and Iraqi helicopter patrols started to take out hundreds of ISIS raiders a week. And disrupt their logistics, their sources for ammunition most critically. When Amerli and then Julf al-Sakhar were surrounded, ISIS couldn't do a thing to help.
ISIS is getting wiped out. Rapidly, in point of fact. That will not keep their mad men from slaughtering hundreds of civilians as an entertainment. They are psychopaths.
This started as sectarian slaughter. Now it's slaughter.
"Bandar Bush" ??? Seems like just about everything he and his bud George touched turned to shxt.
- - - - - - - - -
From Psalm 140 written centuries BCE:
Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man...
They have sharpened their tongues...
Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man...
Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device...
Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth....
This business with ISIS ain't the first time.