This is something I’ve been meaning to post about ever since starting this blog; a subject immensely important to our current global situation and international climate and it’s an angle largely avoided in mainstream journalism.
It is a fascinating, though rather grim, story, spanning the First World War, the creation of the states of Israel, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and taking in Lawrence of Arabia, all the way to the fall of Gadaffi in Libya, the Syria Civil War and Rise of the so-called Islamic State, among other things. It’s a story of long-term manipulation, insidious indoctrination, and secret, almost ‘mythical’ works of literature.
These two ideologies – Wahhabism in Islam and Zionism which is linked primarily to the Jewish religion – may seem like unrelated entities on the surface of it…
But these two ideologies could be seen as largely responsible for much of the situation in the Middle East today; a situation that doesn’t just effect the Middle East, but as we’ve seen more and more since 9/11, effects the US, Europe, the West and probably the entire world. These two ideologies are responsible for and bound up in decades of violence, war, suffering and manipulation. These two ideologies are, it can be demonstrated, flip-sides of the same coin. And these two ideologies can both be traced back to the same approximate era – roughly 100 years ago, during the events of the First World War.
What has been the legacy of both Zionism and Wahhabism in the world? And what is the truth about their origins? To begin with, an abbreviated history (for those of you unfamiliar) of the origins of first Zionism and then Wahhabism…
‘Der Judenstaat’, the Balfour Declaration and the Origins of Zionism…
‘Zionism’ is a complicated term to define in some ways, all the more so for the sheer amount of exaggeration and misinformation around on the web; there’s political Zionism, which is bound up in serving the interests of the state of Israel. There’s religious Zionism, which refers to Jewish or Christian interest in the state of Israel in terms of fulfilling Biblical prophecy or “divine will”. These two schools of Zionism could in some instances be entirely separate; people can be political Zionists without being religious Zionists or even vice-versa (such as Christian organizations who are Zionist for the sake fulfilling perceived Bible texts).
Zionism is just as Christian as it is Jewish.
But the point is that the aim of Zionism originally was the restoration of the Jewish Homeland in what was then Palestine; a goal that was accomplished comprehensively in 1948 in the shadow of the Holocaust (though it had its roots as an international movement from the time of the First World War). Beyond that point, the continued operation of Zionism can be regarded as a political movement aimed at furthering the interests nationally and internationally of that artificially created nation and at ensuring the security and protection of the state of Israel. Many conspiracy theorists and anti-Zionist commentators also as a matter of course link Zionism – both religious and political – with an altogether-less-reliable concept of a ‘global Jewish conspiracy’ to control the world; as that particular area is more speculative than demonstrably historical, I’m steering clear of it as far as this post goes.
So if we avoid for now any pseudo-history or speculative theories, Zionism in its mainstream form is believed to have originated with Theodor Herzl in 1896; a Jewish writer living in Austria-Hungary, he published Der Judenstaat or The Jews State.
In it he argued that the only solution to the “Jewish Question” in Europe was the creation of a state for the Jewish people (this was decades before a certain someone else came up with their own “solution” to the “Jewish question” in Europe). Anti-Semitism was so widespread in Europe that Herzl saw the creation of a national sanctuary for his people as the only long-term answer. And so Zionism was born; or at least this is the mainstream version of events – others, I know, will contest that and offer arguments for a much older origin. Of course if we’re talking about religious Zionism as opposed to political Zionism, then the origin is much older; it didn’t go by that name, but the notion that the land of Israel had always belonged to the Jewish people spiritually or that it was promised to the Children of Israel by the Biblical God is an ancient one (and of course no sound basis for 20th century nation-building).
It was the Colonial Powers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, however, particularly Great Britain, that actively pursued the Zionist agenda under the guidance of powerful and wealthy British Jews such as Lord Rothschild, resulting in the famous Balfour Declaration. The British made war-time promises during World War I to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Although mass Jewish immigration to Palestine began occurring after the First World War, it wasn’t until after the Second World War and the Holocaust that the agenda was comprehensively fulfilled.
Another cornerstone of Zionist lore is the fabled book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, believed by some to be the blue-print for the ‘global Zionist conspiracy’; we’ll come back to that later in this post (but please note that ‘Zionist Conspiracy’ doesn’t mean ‘Jewish Conspiracy’ – one can suggest the former without implying the latter).
Despite Britain’s official actions, however, neither public nor government opinion was unanimous in its support for the excessive commitment made by Britain to further the Zionist agenda. Winston Churchill, in a 1922 telegraph, is recorded to have written of “a growing movement of hostility against Zionist policy in Palestine,” adding that “it is increasingly difficult to meet the argument that it is unfair to ask the British taxpayer, already overwhelmed with taxation, to bear the cost of imposing on Palestine an unpopular policy.” This disapproval of political Zionism has continued for all the decades since and is even more widespread and vehement today than it was a century ago. While much of this is also bound up in anti-Semitism and anti Jewish propaganda, a lot of the opposition to Zionism is also from respectable, reputable sources.
Gandhi wrote in 1938; “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs…. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract.”
And contrary to the view propagated by some that anti-Zionism is ‘anti-semitism’, Jewish speakers have at various points also spoken out openly against the Zionist agenda; among them, (Rabbi) Elmer Berger published The Jewish Dilemma, in which he argued that Jewish “assimilation” was still the best path for Jews in the modern world and not the segregation and siege mentality of the Zionist state; in his opinion Zionism itself was simply resigning to the prevailing racial myths about Jews and playing into them.
Orthodox Jews protesting against Zionism.
In 1975 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that designated Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination”. More contemporaneously, in 2010 the former BBC and ITN journalist Alan Hart published Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, while famous atheist-in-chief Richard Dawkins said in an interview (speaking about Zionism and the ‘Jewish Lobby’ in the US); “If atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place.”
This is just a fraction of stated opposition to Zionism by ‘reputable’, ‘respectable’ people; I reference all of that here to illustrate the point that anti-Zionism isn’t just the preserve of ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘conspiracy theorists’. And again, let’s bear in mind the substantial number of Jews also opposed to Zionism.
It couldn’t be denied, even by the most ardent Zionist supporters, that the influence of political Zionism along with many of the actions/policies of the State of Israel have, aside from the long-term oppression of the Palestinian people, contributed massively to the polarisation of the Middle East and the growth of radicalism. Aside from the destructive, toxic effect the creation of the State of Israel had at the point of inception (in Palestine itself, but also via knock-on effect on Lebanon, Syria and other neighbours), a divisive, destructive effect has continued through to the present day. It is quite demonstrable, for example, that a longstanding US/Israeli Zionist plan for the redrawing of the Middle East map has been carried out in the last several years, toppling independent governments and stable nations and ultimately seeking the balkanisation and subjugation of Iraq, Syria, Iran and other countries in the region.
The alleged Zionist Plan for the Middle East, also known as the ‘Yinon Plan‘, was the vast strategy composed to ensure Zionist regional superiority via the radical reconfiguration of Israel’s geo-political surroundings through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab nations into smaller and weaker states. The ‘Clean Break‘ strategy also essentially amounted to the same thing. What we have thus far witnessed in Iraq, Syria and Libya can be seen to play into this US-backed Zionist strategy quite clearly; it is particularly relevant to note that Iraq, Syria and Libya were three of the most stable and independent (and non-sectarian) Arab Nationalist states and are now instead three collapsed wastelands waiting to be carved up into pieces.
There’s little question that the Greater Israel project that is Zionism has been a toxic and problematic imposition onto the region; all the more so because the State of Israel has been aggressively propped up, armed and defended by its Western patrons. Something similar can be said of the influence of Wahhabism in the region.
Wahhabism, like Zionism, isn’t some centuries old, time-honoured religious sect, but a relatively new political idealogy.
The Advent of Wahhabism, the Birth of Saudi Arabia and the (Insidious) Spreading of the Message…
The modern roots of Wahhabism can be traced to Najd in Saudi Arabia and the 18th century theologian Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Far from being regarded a legitimate interpretation of Islam, al-Wahhab was opposed even by his own father and brother for his beliefs. But the movement gained unchallenged precedence in most of the Arabian Peninsula through an alliance between Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the House of Muhammad ibn Saud, which provided political and financial power for al-Wahhab’s idealogies to gain prominence.
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.
This alliance gave birth to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; following the collapse of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire after the First World War, the Sauds seized control of the Hijaz and the Arabian peninsula and a nation was founded on the tenets of al-Wahhab – the state-sponsored, dominant form of Islam in the birthplace of Islam.
My initial interest in this area of Arab history admittedly began fifteen years or so ago via the David Lean epic Lawrence of Arabia, starring the great Peter O’Toole. Through a love of that 1963 film I read first T.E Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom and then read several books concerning the exploits of T.E Lawrence and the Arab Revolt during the First World War, as well as the Sykes-Picot Agreement (referenced by today’s Islamic State/ISIS in its ‘manifesto’) and the actions of the British and French Colonial governments in regard to the Middle East after the war.
The setting up of the House of Saud as the royal family and the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occurred despite the fact that agreements had been made during the war to endorse and support not the Saudis but the Hashemites. It was the Hashemite Arabs, not the Saudis, that had launched the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Turks and had been the most involved in the campaign. Yet it was the Wahhabi-inspired Saudi faction that gained the real power from the post-war situation.
The reason I bring all of this history up here is to point out that the Wahhabi-inspired Saudi Royal Kingdom that the Middle East has been subject to in the passed century wasn’t the sole – or even the legitimate – claimant to that immensely privileged, immensely powerful, position in the region.
And what has been the legacy of this Wahhabi-inspired Saudi Arabia and its influence? Well, the influence on Arabia itself and much of the surrounding region is incontrovertible. Aside from the fact that the Wahhabi doctrines have been a major influence on extremism, Islamism and terrorism (Osama bin Laden himself was a Wahhabist and almost all Islamist extremism, including all the Takfiri or Salafist groups, follows an essentially Wahhabi ideology), the ideologies have been methodically disseminated across the Islamic world for decades via Saudi wealth funding ‘education’ and religious literature to universities and mosques everywhere from Egypt and Iraq to Pakistan and Indonesia. Worse, the Saudi-funded dissemination of Wahabist-inspired propaganda has for a long time been spreading beyond the Middle East and into Western societies, especially the Muslim communities in the UK.
A recent two-year study conducted by Dr Denis MacEoin, an Islamic studies expert who taught at the University of Fez, uncovered a hoard of “malignant literature” inside as many as a quarter of Britain’s mosques.
All of it had been published and distributed by agencies linked to the government of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
The leaflets, DVDs and journals were full of statements that homosexuals should be burnt, stoned or thrown from mountains or tall buildings, with adulterers and apostates (those who try to change their religion) proscribed a similar fate. Women were portrayed as intellectually inferior and in need of “beating when they transgressed” orthodox Islamic codes, while children over the age of 10 should be beaten if they did not pray. Half of the literature was written in English, suggesting it was targeted at younger British Muslims who don’t speak Arabic or Urdu. The material, openly available in many of the mosques, openly advises British Muslims to segregate themselves from non-Muslims.
Read more: ‘The Decline of Intellect in the Islamic World‘.
This isn’t new information, of course. Investigative journalists have uncovered similar things on numerous occasions, while people who’ve actually grown up within the Muslim communities have been aware of such ideas and literature for a long time. Saudi-funded Wahhabist literature can be cited as a major influence (though not the sole influence) on the indoctrination of young British men alienated from mainstream society and on the seduction of men into extremist organisations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS/Daesh the world over. Worse in places like Pakistan where, unlike in the UK, most young men aren’t privileged with access to a high standard of education or to reliable sources of public information but do have plenty of access to religious schools and mosques, many of which teach from Saudi-funded literature.
This is in fact a key point: the Saudi-funded literature and material has traditionally targeted poorer areas in the Muslim world, such as the poorer parts of countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan or Indonesia, where education infrastructure is limited and there are limited resources. In those cases, Saudi wealth is able to pay for the building or upkeep of schools or mosques – but on the condition that their Wahhabi-centered interpretation of Islam is taught and distributed. As a result of this process taking place over many years, scores of young men grow up on this extremist interpretation of Islam, because it’s forced on them and they lack access to more sophisticated education or information. Essentially, they don’t know any better anymore.
Interestingly, it was traditionally less common for this sort of Wahhabi-centered indoctrination to take place in more developed or sophisticated Arab countries like Gaddafi’s Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, or pre-war Iraq. This is partly because those were all strong, independent societies, which – at the state level, at least – were more invested in a sense of national pride and cultural identity than they were in religious fundamentalism. Indeed, in places like Syria and Gaddafi-era Libya (read more about Gaddafi’s Libya here), the state was engaged in a long campaign to suppress religious extremism or fundamentalism.
That, however, has changed dramatically since the illegal invasion of Iraq, the international conspiracy in Libya and the War in Syria. Now those countries are all infested with extremists, Salafists and terrorists all entrenched in the Wahhabi ideology. The so-called ‘Islamic State’ that has been imported into Syria and Iraq is essentially a movement that has ideologically flowed from Wahhabi doctrine. That connection is further exacerbated by the fact that Saudi/Qatari arms and funding is largely behind these militias anyway, with the wars in both Syria and Libya largely bankrolled by the Saudis and Qataris and the emergence of ‘ISIS’ largely being a consequence of that. It has been reported, for example, that Wahhabi preachers from Saudi Arabia have been in Aleppo, Syria, preaching to armed jihadists to carry out ‘holy war’ against the Syrian state.
Yet while the likes of Afghanistan and Iraq were subject to invasion (and the latter to deliberate destabilization), and the overthrow of the governments of Syria and Libya (two countries that had little, if any, influence on the growth of global Islamism or extremism) were openly encouraged and aided by the major Western governments, Saudi Arabia – no doubt partly due to its wealth and value to the US and its allies – has never at any point been subject to any threat or been held to international questioning over the cynical and methodical dissemination of extremist doctrines across the Muslim world.
World War I, the Wahhabists, the Hashemites, Lawrence of Arabia and the War in the Desert…
Going back to the First World War and history, it’s worth reminding ourselves again that the Saudis weren’t necessarily supposed to be the rulers of Arabia. The Hashemite, Hussein bin Ali, was the Sharif and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917. The Arab Revolt of World War I consisted of Transjordanian tribes, along with other tribes of the Hijaz and Levant regions, fighting against the Turkish Empire on the side of Britain and her allies. The revolt was launched by the Hashemites and led by Sherif Hussein of Mecca, not by the Saudis or Wahhabists. It was supported by Britain and the World War I Allies, who used the momentum of the Arab nationalists (who wanted independence) to further the broader war effort against Germany and her allies.
The definitive chronicle of the revolt was written by T. E. Lawrence who, as a young British Army officer, played a key liaison role during the revolt. He published the chronicle in 1922 under the title Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the basis for Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence himself was of course was one the most fascinating and iconic figures of the twentieth century; and while the Seven Pillars of Wisdom can be questioned for accuracy in some regards, even his detractors and enemies couldn’t refute the vital role played by the Hashemites in the revolt and it is a fact of history that the British government of the time promised the Hashemite Arabs far more than they delivered after the war.
In September 1918, supporters of the Arab Revolt in Damascus declared a government loyal to the “Sharif of Mecca”. Hussein had been declared ‘King of the Arabs’ by a handful of religious leaders and other notables in Mecca. And after the Turkish Caliphate was abolished, Hussein declared himself Caliph, “King of the Hejaz”, and King of all Arabs (malik bilad-al-Arab).
However, Hussein was ousted and driven out of Arabia by the Sauds; a rival clan with whom the Hashemites already had bad history, having earlier fought against them due to radical religious differences (primarily the doctrines of al-Wahhab). Though the British had supported (and utilised) Hussein from the start of the Arab Revolt, they decided not to help Hussein repel the Saudi attacks, which eventually seized the key cities of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah.
The hope of a Hashemite-ruled Arabia was gone, though Hussein continued to use the title “Caliph” even in his exile.
In the aftermath of the war, the Arabs had found themselves freed from centuries of Ottoman rule, but instead were then under the colonial rule of France and the United Kingdom (despite British war-time promises that this would not be the case). When these colonial mandates eventually ended, the sons of Hussein were made the kings of Transjordan (later Jordan), and Syria and Iraq. However, the monarchy in Syria was short-lived, and consequently Hussein’s son Faisal instead presided over the newly-established state of Iraq. But these were mere conciliatory offerings compared to what had originally been intended and desired by the Hashemites; it was the Saudis who were the real winners, being installed into a powerful kingdom that has lasted to this day and shows not the slightest sign of weakening.
“The Memoirs of Mr Hempher” and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…
Zionism and Wahhabism have both demonstrably been divisive, destructive forces in the region (and beyond). Zionism has led to the unending plight and humiliation of the Palestinian people, as well as ensuring that the modern State of Israel is perceived in an entirely negative way and is the least popular nation on earth. While Wahhabism has inspired an immeasurable amount of extremism, terrorist ideologies, indoctrination and the toxic polarisation of societies.
We can look at the influence of Wahhabism in the world at this stage in time and legitimately call it a ‘cancer’. But what about at its root? What about the source? Given the prevalent view in conspiracy theory lore of the “Zionist conspiracy” behind the Balfour Declaration and so much of what has transpired since, is it possible that Wahhabism, which began to gain momentum at around the same time, was also something much more than it appeared to be even at the time?
Is it possible Wahhabism wasn’t the product of some quaintly rustic Arabian desert preacher, but something far more cynical?
The Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (also known as Confessions of a British Spy) has long been regarded as a forged document; the document, purporting to be the account of an 18th-century British agent, “Hempher”, of his instrumental role in founding Wahhabism as part of a conspiracy to corrupt Islam, first appeared in 1888 in Turkish. It has been described as “an Anglophobic variation” on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Most conspiracy researchers know about the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was regarded as blue-print of the perceived “Jewish conspiracy”. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, like Confessions of a British Spy, has long since been dismissed by mainstream sources as a ‘forgery’ or hoax.
The Protocols has been widely translated and disseminated and is still regarded as factual and historical in much of the Muslim world, informing a great deal of the prevailing Middle-Eastern view of “the Jews” and “the Zionists”. Those who refute the validity of the book, however, cite it as a massive contributing cause of anti-Semitism and ‘Jew hatred’ in Muslim societies and beyond, not to mention the notorious book having been a recurring theme in the Nazis anti-Jewish world-view. Unfortunately the Nazis, like many in Muslim societies today, were intemperate, incapable of separating ‘Zionism’ as a political force from ‘Jews’ as a race; the reality is that, if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is/was a legitimate historical item, the Zionism it depicts is no more representative of Jews as a people than Wahhabism is of the global Muslim community – which is to say that only a relatively small percentage of Muslims in the world are Wahhabis, and likewise in regard to the Jewish community and Zionism. But conspiracies of the kind we’re talking about operate at an insidious, often unperceived, level; that is to say the number of Muslims and the number of Jews unknowingly subject to Wahhabism and Zionism respectively is much higher.
But what of Confessions of a British Spy? Is it mere coincidence that both these political ideologies, both originating around the same time, both of which have ensured the long-term toxicity of the Middle East, both also happened to have books claiming to reveal their true origins and agendas – both of which were later dismissed by mainstream commentators as ‘forgeries’?
Was Confessions of a British Spy telling the truth? Was Wahhabism founded by outside agencies as a long-term plan to ‘corrupt Islam’? Is it just a coincidence that this is EXACTLY what Wahhabism appears to have done over the course of a century – corrupted the Islamic religion to the point where it is now widely regarded by many non-Muslims as a source of evil and ill in the world?
Islam, let’s remember, wasn’t always regarded with the kind of stigma it now has, but rather the opposite; Islamic societies are historically perceived as having been intellectually and even scientifically enlightened at a time when Christianity in the West was characterised by inquisitions, torture, mass persecutions, execution pyres and utterly ridiculous doctrines and proclamations. Historical accounts tell of the brutality of Christian Crusaders and the comparative nobility of Salahuddin and the Muslim armies. The Islamic world had its ‘enlightenment’ long before the Christian West, despite being a younger religion. At a time when Europeans were burning ‘witches’, the classical Islamic cities of Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo were centers of learning and philosophy.
The slow degradation and polarisation of Islamic societies is something that has only been happening in the last hundred years or so (as the growth of Wahhabism has done its work, like a slow-acting virus with a long incubation period). And it is only in the last ten to fifteen years that the influence of Wahhabist doctrines has become a prominent international issue.
In regard to Confessions of a British Spy being a hoax; maybe it was. But you’d wonder why someone would create a hoax document to slander a then-minor religious sect that wouldn’t have any great relevance until almost a century later?
9/11, the Collapse of Islam and the ‘Clash of Civilisations’…
Moving on, why did King Hussein’s Western allies not help the Hashemites when they were being driven from Arabia by the Sauds after the First World War? And why, for decades, have the US, Britain, France and other world powers not made any issue over the Saudis’ funding of extremist literature and ideologies? And yet we seem more than eager to jump in when there’s a chance to overthrow a secular leader like Gadaffi in Libya or an Assad in Syria – both undemocratic dictatorships, perhaps, but both relatively idyllic societies when compared to Saudi Arabia (although not anymore, of course) and neither of them being a major factor in the indoctrination of young minds across the world or the spread of terrorism.
Why were the Saudis not brought to task when all of the 9/11 hijackers were known to originate from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq? The list of curious questions goes on and on. And without digressing too much here, it should be borne in mind that one of the most prominent 9/11 conspiracy theories is the Phillip Marshall theory that the WTC attack was a US/Saudi plot and not a mere Al-Qaeda operation. Two central and recurring features of most 9/11 conspiracy research are the possible involvement of Saudi agencies and the possible involvement of Mossad/Israel in collusion with US agencies.
Read more: ‘9/11, the Saudis and the Whole Rotten Saga‘…
Putting that to one side, however, the point is that when we look at the history of the Middle East, it becomes increasingly difficult not to wonder if the divisions, general toxicity, and the wars and apocalyptic scenarios that are reaching their apex here at the beginning of the 21st century may have been orchestrated far back in history, having always been intended to reach this point. That is the view many have of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – that the supposedly ‘hoax’ document actually made this clear to a large extent.
The more one studies the history, the more one wonders if the truth about Wahhabism and its origins may be a similar tale; and not just a similar tale, but a concordant operation, with these two ideologies – Wahhabism and Zionism – both operating hand-in-hand to create the toxic conditions in the region that we have today.
It is worth noting also that the conspiracy hinted at in Confessions of a British Spy still – rightly or wrongly – enjoys some level of currency in parts of the Middle East, particularly Iraq, where it is considered by many to be as legitimate as Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
It is worth noting too that as much as the US is seen as propping up Israel, it is also seen as permanently propping up the Saudi regime; much to the displeasure of other nations and leaders in the region (such as Gadaffi and Assad, to name just two). Both the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could be regarded – and are regarded by many in the Middle East – as artificial states imposed upon the region and kept in place by Western powers (primarily the US) for the purposes of a long-term agenda. Just as Israel is armed to the teeth by its Western patrons, so too is the Saudi state, which is currently decimating the small nation of Yemen in an illegal war and using almost entirely British or American weaponry – with not a word of condemnation from Western governments.
The perception is often inescapable that key Western governments march to the beat of the Saudi state, just as much as with Israel; and all of this being despite Saudi Arabia’s longstanding role as the key source of Islamist terrorism and extremism.
Read more: ‘When Saudi Arabia Rules the World‘…
It is also increasingly evident that the Wahhabi and Zionist states have common interests and work hand-in-hand in many regards; this can be seen for example in their shared anti-Iran policies and their shared involvement in supporting the extremist war against the Syrian government. None of this should be taken as an endorsement of Khomeni-ism in Iran either – which has also been a negative, corrupting force in the Middle East too, though it emerged much, much later.
The 21st Century and the Bitter Legacy of Wahhabism in the Islamic World…
The influence of Zionism has been written and talked about at tremendous length elsewhere for many decades (both accurately and exaggeratedly, depending on the source), but the Wahhabi doctrines can be seen to be behind most of the extremist, Islamist movements of the passed several decades, including Al-Qaeda and now Islamic State. It would be impossible to calculate how many minds, how many young men, across the world have been indoctrinated by Wahhabi influences.
Wahhabism isn’t just an especially intolerant version of Islam – it is an ideology. So is Zionism, which is often used to indoctrinate young Jewish people (and a lot of quite stupid American Christians) to an essentially extremist, uncompromising viewpoint that deals in racial superiority and divine right.
That influence is largely invisible to those observing events from the outside and can be regarded almost as indoctrination by stealth. While no one has ever denied the existence of Wahhabism or its prevalence in Saudi Arabia, it has only been in recent years that the extent of Wahhabi material circulating around the Muslim world has started to be understood. While Saudi religious influence can’t be cited as the sole force behind the rise of fanaticism and extremism in the Middle East and much of the Islamic world beyond, it is a central factor, along with US foreign policy and the State of Israel; and if all of those factors were to be viewed operating in concert with one another and taken as one then it would obviously be the principal driving force behind events in that part of the world.
The Khomeini revolution in Iran could also be seen as a negative, insidious force in the region too; though we could also note that American interference in Iranian democratic politics is what led to the Khomeini revolution in the first place.
Even if you wanted to cite other causal factors instead – for example, populations being oppressed by various dictatorships – the argument could be made that those dictatorships have historically been propped up by either Saudi or US influence (or both) at some time or another (though not Gaddafi – and look how that ended up for him). If we look at the historic events of the Arab Spring, some tend to forget that Bahrain, for example, had its own popular protests by civilians asking for basic rights and liberties. Those protests were crushed and received no support or actions of solidarity from the US and other Western powers; yet the Powers That Be went out of their way to assist the violent, brutal overthrow of Gadaffi in Libya and have spent years now trying to do the same in Syria and at maximum cost to the Syrian people.
Unsurprisingly Gadaffi’s Libya and Assad’s Syria were/are two dictatorships with no sympathy or love for the Saudi Wahhabists. And the same can be said for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Whereas the leadership of Bahrain has full Saudi support. Even more ridiculous, the Saudis were themselves being ‘consulted’ by Western powers on what to do about the ‘Gadaffi problem’ (just as they are were principally consulted on what to do about Assad and Syria, and just as they were a major influence on the push to remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq).
It is curious that while regimes were collapsing or being attacked elsewhere in the region (even the Mubbarak regime in Egypt), the Saudi regime never appeared to be in the least bit of trouble, despite being hated by so many of its neighbours and despite being even more oppressive than the other regimes accused of being ‘undemocratic’.
According to social scientist Quintan Wiktorowicz, even the term “Wahhabi” is often used by its opponents “to denote foreign influence”, particularly in countries where they are “a small minority of the Muslim community, but have made recent inroads in “converting” the local population to the ideology”. Through this long-term method of infiltration, foreign nations can be interfered with, movements stirred up and regimes damaged or even toppled. Muammar Gadaffi certainly knew about Wahhabists – and hated them with a vengeance (he also made the mistake of openly confronting the Saudi Royal Family at Arab Summits). Again, let’s note that neither Iran, nor Syria, not Gaddafi’s Libya, nor Hussein’s Iraq, had ever contributed to the export or spread of extremism or terrorism against the West.
It is difficult for someone like me to look at the international conspiracy that was conducted against Gadaffi and the people of Libya and not wonder what alliance of forces and interests were truly behind it and why. That subject warrants a whole essay in itself (which you can read in book form here: I spent over a year studying Libya to try to make a definitive analysis of what happened), but by the same token it becomes difficult to look at the crisis that has torn apart once-peaceful Syria and not wonder the same thing, not to mention Iraq and the rise of Islamic State.
Read more: ‘ISIS: The Fear-Porn and Maximum Psy-Op‘…
It is an established fact that the Saudis and their satellite states have been funding and orchestrating the ultra-violent terrorists in Syria since the very beginning of that conflict (and it’s evident that Israel too has been involved in aiding the Syrian rebels); it is reasonable then to wonder if a Zionist/Wahhabist agenda is being played out in unison (with, of course, US/Neo-Con backing).
This isn’t, by the way, an attempt to all-out vilify Saudi Arabia or the Saudi state – which itself may be facing significant danger from Islamist extremism – but more specifically its hard-line religious clerics and networks. The extent to which those networks are tied to the state itself is unknown – but there is almost certainly some degree of collusion involving highly-placed people in the state.
In conclusion, it is of course beyond the powers of this blogger to comment decisively on whether either The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion or The Memoirs of Mr Hempher are both 19th century hoaxes or genuine historic items that expose the true origins of two of the most destructive, toxic ideologies of the 20th and 21st centuries.
What can be observed with utter objectivity, however, is the substantial role both ideologies have played in creating the harsh, apocalyptic-looking conditions we have in the Middle East and much of the world beyond today. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the history, you cannot help but view the bitter sectarianism, wars, divisions and bloodshed of today without perceiving the large shadows of Zionism and Wahhabism looming over them; and that’s before we even factor in the issue of Shia Islam and Khomeini-ism; this is also particularly interesting in light of the fact that US policy in recent years has been to aggravate a Sunni/Shia conflict in the region as much as possible.
The bleak picture is of a societal and political cancer seeded at the dawn of the 20th century and reaching its deadliest point at the beginning of the 21st: an agenda that pre-dated the First World War and that may bring about the Third.
If you value journalism of this kind and wish to see more articles like this, consider supporting this blog with either a one-time or regular donation (of any amount) via Paypal. With enough support, more time, energy and resources can be devoted to content like this.
Related: ‘When Saudi Arabia Rules‘, ‘Why Is YEMEN Being Attacked?‘, ‘Aleppo: ‘Moderate Terrorism’ & the Retaking of Syria‘, ‘9/11: The Whole Rotten Saga & the Most Ineffective Cover-Up Ever’, ‘Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia & How the Middle East Conflict Goes Nuclear‘, ‘Anti-Semitism/Zionism: And How It Became Impossible to Criticise Israel‘…