Saudi Islamic Fundamentalists endorse US Occupation of Iraq

This article was written in November 2004. The issue prevails today,  Saudi Arabia in liaison with the US supports Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in Syria and Iraq, while paying lip service to the US sponsored “War on Terrorism”.

The “Islamic jihad” associated with the Wahabi clergy of Saudi Arabia is casually presented to US public opinion as a threat to the security of America.

The insurgents in Iraq are said to be supported by wealthy Saudi donors and Islamic charities. According to the Western media, the same religious organizations and foundations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States which supported the Taliban and al Qaeda including “enemy number one”, Osama bin Laden, are now supporting the “terrorists” in Iraq. 

These reports distort the nature of the Iraqi resistance movement. The administration’s propaganda campaign consists in portraying  those fighting against US occupation as “Islamic terrorists”.

The fact of the matter is that “Islamic fundamentalism” including its gamut of foundations and charities out of Saudi Arabia is not supporting the resistance movement in Iraq. In fact quite the opposite.

The head of the senior ulema commission and mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abdallah Al al-Shaykh,  has recently issued a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) prohibiting young Saudis from joining the Iraqi resistance movement:

Earlier, the Saudi ambassador in London, Prince Turki al-Faysal, made statements, rejecting a statement issued by Saudi ulema who expressed sympathy with the defenders of Al-Fallujah. He vehemently criticized these ulema.

And here comes Shaykh Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abdallah Al al-Shaykh, head of the senior ulema commission and mufti of Saudi Arabia, issuing a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) in which he prohibits the fight against the occupiers in Iraq and warns Saudi youngsters against joining their resisting brothers on the pretext that going to Iraq serves no interest and is fraught with risk. (Al-Quds al-Arabi editorial , London 14 November 2004).

This decision of the Saudi mufti and ulema commission should come as no surprise. “Islamic fundamentalism” has consistently been used to support US foreign policy interests.

US military intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s was supported by the Wahabi missionaries out of Saudi Arabia, which trained the Taliban (‘graduates”) in the US sponsored madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Wahabi doctrine would not have spread in the way it did without the support of US intelligence.

Since the 1980s, the CIA provided  guerrilla training in Pakistan, which was integrated with the teachings of Islam.

Al Qaeda was a creation of US intelligence, which was put together with the support of Pakistani and Saudi intelligence:

“[I]t was the government of the United States who supported Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands of religious schools from which the germs of Taliban emerged.” (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), RAWA Statement on the Terrorist Attacks In the US, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), , 16 September 2001)

The “jihad”, in this case, was put together on behalf of Washington to destabilize the secular Afghani government which was,  at the time, supported by the Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia worked closely with Washington in recruiting the Mujahideen (holy warriors) to fight against the Soviet Union. The Saudi monarchy enlisted the support of the religious authorities. Fatwas were issued;

 “urging Saudi and non-Saudi youths to go to Afghanistan and carry out jihad there. And it praised those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islamic nation’s causes.” (Al-Quds al-Arabi, op cit)

Confirmed by the Afghan Project ( ), which has collected hundreds of CIA and State Department documents, cables and memoranda, the CIA developed from the late 1970s, ties with a number of Islamic organizations. The objective was to use “Islamic fundamentalist” doctrine to unseat the secular pro-Soviet People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government as well as unleash a war with the Soviet Union. The same strategy of supporting Islamic political movements was used by Washington in the post-Cold War era in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union as well in Bosnia and Kosovo.

In the Al-Quds al-Arabi editorial, London (14 November 2004), begs the question:

“What is the difference between jihad in Afghanistan and jihad in Iraq? What is the difference between the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and US occupation of Iraq?’

What is the difference between the jihadic groups in Afghanistan and their counterparts in Al-Fallujah, Samarra, and Al-Ramadi?

We ask these questions and know their answers in advance. The difference is clear. Jihad in Afghanistan was supported by the Americans under a US plan to revenge against the Soviets and make up for the defeat in Vietnam. Therefore, this jihad was legitimate from the viewpoint of the ulema and officials in Saudi Arabia. However, jihad in Iraq is illegitimate because the occupying forces are American and America is a strategic ally of the ruling family in Saudi Arabia.

About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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