Saturday, December 5, 2015

Turkey takes a hit from the Russian hammer

By Cengiz Candar

The conflict between Russia and Turkey that was sparked by Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24 is too serious to be treated in any sense of sarcasm and with emotional outbursts.
On Dec. 3, delivering his state of the nation address, Vladimir Putin voiced his anger and accused his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish leadership.
"Allah only knows, I suppose, why they did it. And probably, Allah has decided to punish the ruling clique in Turkey by taking their mind and reason,” Putin said.
Yet it seems that he did not want to leave the “punishment” to Allah. He implied that Russia will take it on.
“But, if they expected a nervous or hysterical reaction from us, if they wanted to see us become a danger to ourselves as much as to the world, they won’t get it. … We are not going to rattle the sabre. But, if someone thinks they can commit a heinous war crime, kill our people and get away with it, suffering nothing but a ban on tomato imports, or a few restrictions in construction or other industries, they’re delusional. We’ll remind them of what they did, more than once. They’ll regret it. We know what to do,” the Russian leader said in a menacing tone.
The Russian autocrat implied unequivocally that the escalation between Russia and Turkey will not be confined to Moscow’s economic sanctions or trade embargo imposed upon Turkey. Short of a war, it could be in any form that will increase tensions in an already volatile geopolitical arena. It might prove to be difficult to prevent it from reaching undesirable and unintended consequences.
It is perhaps harboring the most serious seeds of conflict between the West and a resurgent Russia in the post-Cold War period.
In irate Russian public reaction against Turkey, relatively sober analyses rarely find their way to the Russian press. The following lines from a Moscow Times article reflect such a rarity:
“Putin should think thrice before striking once. The chances of his strategy becoming clear in the end are great and this would anger Ankara and worry the West. Besides, Turkey is no soft target, Erdogan doubly so. The irony is that Turkey is in many ways similar to Russia, from its revisionist plans and the aggressiveness of its intelligence agencies, to the character of its ambitious autocrat-presidents. It may lack the excitement of a war in the shadows, but ultimately Putin would be best served sticking to the humdrum world of the boycott and the diplomatic rebuke.”
The psychological war seemed to be an important component of Russia’s escalation of the conflict with Turkey. In this, the Russian Defense Ministry also took part and alleged that Turkey and its president’s family are involved in illicit oil trafficking with the Islamic State (IS). Russia’s defense ministry had called journalists to a briefing at its command center on Dec. 2 to show slides and satellite imagery allegedly depicting proof that Turkey was profiting from the trade in IS oil.
“A unified team of bandits and Turkish elites operates in the region to steal oil from their neighbors [Iraq and Syria],” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
President Erdogan was quick to retort. From Qatar, he dismissed the Russian accusations, labeling them as “slander.”
Earlier, when Putin made similar allegations, Erdogan had promised “to vacate his post of Turkey’s presidency if the claims are substantiated by concrete evidence.”
It was bizarre that Erdogan, who was venomous and furious at such claims when put forward domestically, had never pronounced the word “resignation,” but whenever such a claim is voiced by Putin, he could bet on his head.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, on his way to Azerbaijan, recalled the Soviet era of Russia, and said, "Nobody attaches any value to the lies of this Soviet-style propaganda machine,"
As a matter of fact, Turkey’s American friends were not eager to buy the Russian allegations. Spokesmen from the US Department of Defense and Department of State rejected the allegations put forward by the deputy defense minister of Russia.
Since Nov. 24, US President Barack Obama has said that Turkey has the right to self-defense. He has pressed Russia to hit IS targets in Syria rather than trying to shore up the regime of Bashar al-Assad. He also sent clear signals that the United States has no intentions to let Turkey down against an increasingly nervous Russia.
However, as “there is no free lunch” in Washington, the American support to Turkey could only come against Russia if Turkey remains in line with the rest of its NATO allies and the United States in the fight against IS.
Turkey is widely believed to have dragged its feet in fighting with its coalition partners against IS and has, most of the time, not seen eye to eye with its Western allies in its Syria policy.
Ash Carter, the US Secretary of Defense, in a tacitly critical tone, said recently that Turkey should do more in its capacity in the fight against IS. “France has been galvanized by the attacks in its capital, Britain is debating expanded airstrikes, Italy has made important contributions in Iraq, and Germany is making more contributions,” he noted. “All countries, including the United States, must do more. Turkey must do more to control its border.”
Ottoman Turkey, the predecessor of the Republic of Turkey, had a reputation of perennial confrontation with its mighty neighbor Russia. Both empires fought around 13 wars between the 17th and 20th centuries. Apart from the Crimean War of 1853-1856 that was fought in alliance with Great Britain and France, the Ottomans never won a war against the Russians.
Turkey’s fate in the 20th century was also sealed through its relations with Russia. Its entry to World War I, which brought the end of the Ottoman Empire, was prompted by the bombardment of the Russian Black Sea ports by the two German warships that had taken refuge in Bosphorus and then joined the Ottoman navy. The aftermath of World War II saw the threats of Stalin that led to Turkey’s application to NATO with Western shelter for its survival.
The latest conflict with Russia deprives Erdogan of the autonomy in foreign and security policy he was seeking against Turkey’s Western allies.
In 2014, Erdogan had gone the extra mile during the G-20 summit at St. Petersburg and had asked Putin in their joint press conference, “Why don’t you let us in to the Shanghai Group, so we could be liberated from our ties to the European Union?”
There were enough signs that he had wanted to emerge as the leader and spokesman of the Islamic world, a position that would not be compatible by being a faithful and regular member of the West.
Downing the Russian fighter jet put such ambitious objectives of Erdogan in jeopardy, if not made them impossible to realize.
Turkey once again finds itself under the Russian hammer while, this time, resting on the Western anvil.
Russian allegations of Turkish leadership’s transactions with IS will continue. The rejection of Turkey’s Western partners and primarily of Washington will have credence only if Erdogan contributes to the anti-IS fight much more than he has done and also if he toes the line with the Western coalition partners on many fields.
Such a trajectory, most probably, was not what Erdogan had envisaged in his term as Turkey’s president.

Turkey has no chance when it comes to ISIL

The tension between Turkey and Russia continues to escalate after Turkey downed a Russian fighter plane citing airspace violation.
This tension was actually foreshadowed during the G-20 summit meeting in Antalya when Russian President Vladimir Putin said: "[The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] ISIL is receiving financial support from 40 countries, including some G-20 countries."
Indeed, many commentators in Europe suggested that Putin's remarks were targeted at Turkey. After the ISIL attack in Paris, articles claiming that Turkey was backing ISIL started to appear in the Western press.
I must also note the downing of the Russian aircraft came in the wake of Putin's G-20 revelations.

Putin targets Erdoğan

Following the downing of its aircraft, Russia made harsh remarks targeting Turkey and announced it would implement retaliatory economic and political measures against Turkey.
Some of these economic measures were made public: reintroducing visa requirements for Turkish citizens starting from Jan. 1, urging its citizens to avoid Turkey trips and deporting Turkish investors and workers in Russia, etc. Russia has not yet taken any step regarding its natural gas sale to Turkey, but anything can happen at any moment.
It is clear Russia's main move will be of a political, rather than economic, nature. Indeed, it has recently made several moves to this end.
Moscow announced that during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris this week, Putin had submitted to world leaders a report on the allegations that Turkey supports ISIL.
The previous day, Putin made allegations implying that one of his targets was Turkey when he had hinted at the involvement of some G-20 countries in supporting ISIL.
The documents Russia disclosed contain the alleged route of the oil trade between Turkey and ISIL. It was further maintained that Turkish officials played a part in this trade and evidence would be disclosed in the coming days.
In terms of the Turkish officials supporting ISIL, it is alleged that the Russian authorities are referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family. We will wait and see if these allegations are true.

Putin draws power from West

In any case, it is clear Russia will continue to escalate this tension, trying to corner Turkey.
It appears Russia will consolidate its presence in Syria and settle in the country despite the objections of the West by playing on the ideological ties between Turkey and ISIL. Russian leaders see this crisis with Turkey as a good opportunity to do so.
Here the important point is: Russia is consolidating its power in Syria via Turkey despite the objections of the West. This is because Russia rightly placed the emphasis on the political and crucial aspect of the crisis with Turkey, i.e., ISIL, rather than on the legal aspect, i.e., airspace violation. It did so by disclosing certain documents about the alleged ties between Turkey and ISIL.
In this setting, Turkey will not be able to secure the West's support for an extended period.
Indeed, as soon as it downed the aircraft, Turkey called NATO for an emergency meeting. NATO expressed its support for Turkey. But we must acknowledge that this support was given "reluctantly," given the case of Ukraine.
Indeed, the primary threat for Western leaders and the public is ISIL and governments know this. To the West, Turkey is the "usual suspect" with regards to the ISIL crisis and Turkey has done virtually nothing to ease this suspicion.

When it comes to ISIL issue, Russia is closer to West

In this context, the West is closer to Russia rather than its ally, Turkey. Unlike Turkey, both the West and Russia -- and also Iran -- prioritize the ISIL threat, not Bashar al-Assad.
Given the fact that the US recently started to launch airstrikes against ISIL, Turkey is very well cornered.
This is why Turkey and Erdoğan can elicit political support against Russia only by giving more concessions to the West, i.e., through Erdoğan dispensing with his dream of leading the Muslim world and coming down to Earth. But even that political support will be insufficient against Russia when it comes to the ISIL threat.
The following Russian proverb, currently trending on Twitter, is quite ironic: "When you ask a bear to dance, you can only sit down not when you are tired but when the bear is."
The Turkish-Russian tension is a little like this proverb. Obviously, this tension has a high cost for Turkey and Erdoğan.

Video Report - Erdogan wants to resurrect Ottoman Empire and create controlled Islamic state

Are You Sure About That? Why Erdogan Shouldn't Have Asked for Proof

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dramatically vowed to leave office if any proof is provided that Ankara has been buying oil from the terrorist group Daesh (ISIL/IS). But does the Turkish leader really believe that President Putin is going to make a statement unsupported by evidence? Here’s at least some of the evidence Erdogan has hastily asked for.

Satellite images and aerial photos showing the true scale of the Daesh (ISIL) oil trade:

“I’ve shown photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” Vladimir Putin told reporters in November on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Antalya.

“Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters," added the Russian president.

The real thing is that President Putin actually got up in front of the world's largest economic powers and told them, right to their faces, that Russia knows exactly where the oil is going.

The Guardian’s investigation on the Daesh oil flow into Turkey:

The British newspaper has posted a number of articles on the Daesh oil business based on its own investigations.“After a US attack on the compound of a Daesh (ISIL) leader in Syria in May, direct dealings between the terrorist organization and Turkey became undeniable,” the newspaper wrote back in July, referring to documents seized at the compound.“Following the killing of Abu Sayyaf, an ISIL official responsible for oil smuggling in May, a senior Western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at Sayyaf's compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIL members were now “undeniable.”

“From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter [Abu Sayyaf] had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria's eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis [ISIL] revenues — and Turkish buyers were its main clients,” the daily then said.In a follow up of the President Putin’s remarks on the issue, the newspaper has published another article with the reference to a “long list of evidence of Turkish support for Daesh (ISIL) in Syria, compiled by The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.

Based on the evidence of a variety of international sources including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others, the document confirmed that:“Turkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS (ISIL Daesh), Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters, Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters, Turkey Offers Medical Care to ISIS Fighters, Turkey Supports ISIS Financially Through Purchase of Oil, Turkish Forces Are Fighting Alongside ISIS.”

The Zero Hedge Investigation

Zero Hedge, a financial blog that aggregates news and presents editorial opinions from original and outside sources, presented its own selection of related articles on the issue.As part of their continuing effort to track and document the Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) oil trade, they turned to a study by George Kiourktsoglou, Visiting Lecturer, University of Greenwich, London and Dr Alec D Coutroubis, Principal Lecturer, University of Greenwich, London.

Their paper, entitled "ISIS Gateway To Global Crude Oil Markets," looks at tanker charter rates from the port of Ceyhan in an effort to determine if Daesh (Islamic State) crude is being shipped from Southeast Turkey.

​“The tradesmen/smugglers responsible for the transportation and sale of the black gold send convoys of up to thirty trucks to the extraction sites of the commodity. They settle their trades with ISIS on site, encouraged by customer friendly discounts and deferred payment schemes.  In this way, crude leaves Islamic State-run wells promptly and travels through insurgent-held parts of Syria, Iraq and Turkey,” the paper says.
This November 18, 2015 image from a US Department of Defense Twitter site of the Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the US military operation against ISIL, shows a leaflet warning civilians of upcoming airstrikes
This November 18, 2015 image from a US Department of Defense Twitter site of the Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the US military operation against ISIL, shows a leaflet warning civilians of upcoming airstrikes
“Since allied US air-raids do not target the trucks lorries out of fear of provoking a backlash from locals, the transport operations are being run efficiently, taking place most of times in broad daylight. Traders lured by high profits are active in Syria (even in government-held territories), Iraq and south-east Turkey.”

“The supply chain comprises the following localities: Sanliura, Urfa, Hakkari, Siirt, Batman, Osmaniya, Gaziantep, Sirnak, Adana, Kahramarmaras, Adiyaman and Mardin. The string of trading hubs ends up in Adana, home to the major tanker shipping port of Ceyhan.”

Ceyhan is a city in south-eastern Turkey, with a population of 110,000 inhabitants, of whom 105,000 live in the major metropolitan area. It is the second most developed and most populous city of Adana Province, after the capital Adana with a population of 1,700,000. It is situated on the Ceyhan River which runs through the city and it is located 43 km east of Adana. Ceyhan is the transportation hub for Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Russian oil and natural gas (Municipality of Ceyhan 2015).

The same investigation took a closer look at exactly who is facilitating the transport of the stolen crude and where it ultimately ends up.

“The quantities of crude oil that are being exported to the terminal in Ceyhan exceed the mark of one million barrels per day and given that ISIS has never been able to trade daily more than 45,000 barrels of oil, it becomes evident that the detection of similar quantities of smuggled crude cannot take place through stock-accounting methods.” In other words, if Daesh oil was being shipped from Ceyhan, it would essentially be invisible.

Family Ties

The blog then reveals how the suppliers can hide its crude shipments by, selling off the coast of Malta via ship-to-ship transfers and helping to disguise the final buyers.

Oxomiya Jiyori @SouleFacts

Bilal Erdogan, son of Turkish President, with leaders. Any more questions?

@SouleFacts @Milatrud11 Ankara's oil business with ISIS  BILAL ERDOGAN with his ISIS brothers

“It turns out, Bilal Erdogan (the third child of Recep Tayyip Erdogan) owns a Maltese shipping company. The BMZ Group, a company owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son Bilal alongside other family members, has purchased two tankers in the last two months at a total cost of $36 million," the blog quotes Today's Zaman as reporting back in September.
Oil trucks, which, according to Russia's Defence Ministry, are being used by Islamic State militants, are hit by air strikes carried out by Russia's air force, at an unknown location in Syria, in this still image taken from video footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry on November 18, 201
Oil trucks, which, according to Russia's Defence Ministry, are being used by Islamic State militants, are hit by air strikes carried out by Russia's air force, at an unknown location in Syria, in this still image taken from video footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry on November 18, 201
All the above only supports the argument presented by President Putin: "We have every reason to believe that the decision to shoot down our aircraft was dictated by the desire to ensure the safety of supply routes of oil to Turkey, to the ports where they are shipped in tankers."

US unwilling to acknowledge Turkey-ISIS oil trade ‘smacks of direct patronage’ – Russian top brass

Russia’s Defense Ministry has slammed Washington’s reaction to the outing of the secret oil trade between Turkey and Islamic State terrorists, calling it a “theatre of the absurd” and saying it looks rather like “direct patronage.”
“Finally, our colleagues from the State Department and the Pentagon have confirmed that the photo-proof, which we presented at a briefing [on December 2], of the origin and destination of the stolen oil, coming from the areas controlled by the terrorists, is authentic,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, a Defense Ministry spokesman, told a media briefing on Saturday.
“However, the US claim that they ‘don’t see the border crossings with tanker trucks crossing the border,’ raises a smile, if only, because the photos are still images,” he added.
The spokesman advised the American side to have a look through the videos, which were also presented by the Russian Defense Ministry, showing “how the tanker trucks not only drive through checkpoints at the Turkish border, but pass through them without even stopping.”
If the Russian evidence is not enough, the US and its allies should look at the footage from their own state-of-the art drones, “the number of which has recently tripled above the Turkish-Syrian border and oil-rich areas controlled by the terrorists,” he said.
According to Konashenkov, it should be impossible for the Western coalition to miss the oil smuggling business running between Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Turkey, given their range of technical capabilities in Syria and Iraq.
“So when US officials claim that they do not see oil smuggled by terrorists to Turkey, this is already not dodging the issue, but smacks of a direct patronage,” he added.
The spokesman pointed out that the coalition’s drones and warplanes have been intensively using Incirlik Air Base in Turkey for their operations.
On Friday, an unnamed US State Department official confirmed to Reuters that the Russian photos of thousands of oil tanker trucks in Syria were authentic.
However, the official stressed that he hasn’t seen “the imagery of the border crossing with trucks crossing the border, and that’s because I don’t believe that exists.”
Konashenkov also commented on a recent statement by US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who said at a Senate hearing that “over the past several weeks” the Pentagon has “intensified the air campaign against ISIL’s war-sustaining oil enterprise.”
With the US-led air campaign against Islamic State beginning in September 2014, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman wondered: “Does this mean that over the last one and a half years the Americans were only destroying non-war-sustaining infrastructure of the militants?”
“Now we know where the bandits got the money to buy weapons, recruit new supporters, and stage bloody acts of terror, and why the territory controlled by IS increased by hundreds of times during this period,” he said.
Konashenkov called recent statements by the US State Department and Pentagon “‘a theater of absurd,’ based on double standards and the wordplay.”
“First, they see something – then they don’t. They divide the opposition into moderate and non-moderate. Even terrorists, in their view, can be bad or very bad,” he said.
“We are convinced that terrorism has no comparative degrees or nationalities. Terrorism – an absolute evil that must be fought in all its manifestations,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry released photo and video proof that the main smuggling route for oil produced by Islamic State terrorists runs through Turkey, accusing Turkish leadership, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of being involved in the criminal trade.
Russia’s claims were denied by both Ankara and Washington, with Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, calling Turkey “a great partner.”

Music Video - Konshens - Gal Ting

Music Video - Nicki Minaj - The Night Is Still Young

Music Video - Want U Back

Music Video - Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

Music Video - 5 Seconds of Summer - She's Kinda Hot


ISIS release a series of sickening execution videos from Yemen filmed in just 24 hours. In Four videos ISIS claims to show Shiite Houthi movement fighters being killed in different shocking scenarios. At least 23 men killed somewhere in Yemen. Four had mortars tied around their necks, six blown up by rocket launcher.
ISIS has released a series of execution videos from Yemen whose ongoing war has allowed the terror group to spread its tentacles into the country.
According to intelligence expert group SITE, Four videos claims to show Houthi popular movement fighters, who are battling both the Saudi backed terrorists and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), being executed in different sickening scenarios in a desert location, Daily Mail reports.
Six men were blown up by a rocket launcher, another six were put on a boat which was sent out to sea and exploded, four were obliterated by the mortar shells hung around their necks and nine were beheaded with sharp daggers.
In one video, four men in orange jumpsuits stand with mortar shells tied around their necks like lanyards.
A deafening blast then sends huge amounts of soil and rock into the air. As the dust settles, the men's destroyed, charred bodies can be made seen.
In another of the group's gruesome propaganda videos, a group of men are led single file onto a boat which is then pushed out to sea.
As they sit there, shackled and helpless, the boat and the men on board are blown up remotely.
Six men were killed when a remotely triggered rocket launcher fired a grenade at them, as they sat on the side of a rocky hill.
Nine more were led to a deserted outpost somewhere in Yemen, their hands tied behind their backs, and beheaded by masked ISIS fanatics.

German intel warns Saudi Arabia is shifting to ‘impulsive interventionist policy’

In a rare case, German foreign intelligence BND warns that Saudi Arabia, one of the West’s closest allies, is tempted to play a destabilizing role in the Middle East, pursuing its "increasingly aggressive foreign policy."
Germany’s Federal Security Service (BND) has issued a policy paper that outlines the immediate risks coming from Saudi Arabia’s strong desire to become a dominant power in the Middle East, according to Der Spiegel's story.
The memo widely quoted by the Germany’s top newspapers says the “increasingly offensive foreign policy” has come in since the new Saudi king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, was crowned in January 2015. It reportedly says internal power struggles in the royal family and the ambition to unilaterally rule the whole region threaten to make the key Western ally a frequent source of instability in the Arab world.
“The current cautious diplomatic posture of senior members of the Saudi royal family will be replaced by an impulsive interventionist policy,” the BND memo was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying.
Within Saudi ruling circles, the BND singles out the king’s son, deputy crown prince and defense minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud as among those who are pushing for a new, far more aggressive and dangerous course, which explains the emerging threats coming from the new Saudi Arabian regime. Prince Mohammad bin Salman is believed to play a central role in Saudi Arabia’s move to invade neighboring Yemen, but he has also seized control over the kingdom’s economic assets, BND says.
The concentration of so much power in his hands “harbors a latent risk that in pursuit for establishing himself in the line of succession in his father’s lifetime, he may overreach,” Der Spiegel quotes the memo as saying. If that happens, “relations with friendly and above all allied countries in the [Middle East] could be more than worsened,” while the US influence over the region “will be neglected,” the memo says.
Both the ruling King Salman and his son, Prince Mohammad, are desperate to become “dominant rulers of the Arab world”through building up ”a strong military component and new regional alliances,” German intelligence agency’s memo reads. Mohammad, aged 30, is also described by BND as being keen to seize the throne after his father’s passing, though he is only second in the succession line behind the King’s nephew, 80-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
If that becomes a reality, the BND analysts write, the whole region would also face constant unrest because of a mounting rivalry with Iran. “Strategic struggle between the two countries based on religious and ideological hostility” is likely to unleash conflicts across neighboring Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain, with Riyadh not fearing to take “serious military, financial and political risks,” the memo warns. In Syria, it is a top priority for Saudi Arabia’s new royal family to make President Bashar Assad go, along with adding fuel to ongoing Syrian war, according to BND’s assessment.

Saudi Arabia's Role in Spreading Islamic Terrorism

Revelations that Syed Rizwan Farook, the male suspect in the San Bernardino terror attack, recently visited Saudi Arabia is raising questions about that country's role in supporting radical Islam around the world.
The Saudi government promotes a severe form of Islam called Wahhabism. This fundamentalist strain of the faith imposes strict requirements on its followers and teaches intolerance of other faiths and even sects of Islam that are less strict.
Wahhabis believe Shia Muslims are not true followers of Islam and are potential apostates. In order to stay in favor with the country's religious leaders, the Saudi royal family funds and supports the spread of Wahhabist mosques throughout the world.
This has inadvertantly strengthened ISIS and other extremist Muslims. Terrorist groups like ISIS (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State) and al-Qaeda draw their theology from Wahhabism, but are even more intolerant and violent in enforcing their beliefs.
ISIS has targeted Shia Muslims for violence and forced them to convert. ISIS and al-Qaeda have also targeted the Saudi government and the royal family.

Godfather of terror: Saudi Arabia and 'IS'

The ideology of the terror organization the "Islamic State" is inspired by Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia. But there are other links.
Hatred against those of a different faith. A bizarre world view that sees Islam threatened in many kinds of ways. Mistrust against everyone who doesn't think and believe like oneself: these are central ideological elements of the terror organization "Islamic State" (IS). It didn't invent this world view, at least not alone. When 'IS' agitates against Shiites, Yazidis, Christians and Jews, it shows close parallels to the world view of Wahhabism, the radical-conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam, which is the state religion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In actual fact there are unmistakable parallels between IS and Wahhabism. This is seen clearly if one looks at the text books used by schoolchildren in the Saudi kingdom, up until a few years ago, and where they got their religious world view.
"Every other religion apart from Islam is false", they read in the introductory text book. Also in exercises which have to be solved by the schoolchildren. The following sentence has to be completed: "When those who live on the outside of the religion of Islam die, they go to..." According to the text book, the right word is "hell ". Another exercise reads: "Name examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, Paganism."
'Faith is not just a word'
For the older school children the exercises were harder: They were instructed according to the kingdom tasks of a Muslim: "Faith is not just a word that a person speaks. Faith is made from language, conviction and action." The schoolchildren were also informed about what "real faith" means: "That you hate Polytheists and unbelievers, but you don't treat them unfairly." The question of what "unfairly" means is left open in the text book. Instead there are instructions in case Muslims meet non-Muslims: "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend of someone, who does not believe in Allah and the Prophets, or who fights the religion of Islam."
The stated examples came from Saudi school books in 2005. The think tank, Center for Religious Freedom - part of the American Freedom House Foundation - examined a dozen. In its study published in 2006, the analysis of Saudi school books came to a sober conclusion: Saudi Arabia "sowed in public religious instruction and other educational materials – like the collection of religious Fatwas – hostility toward the West." The think tank deliberately spoke of the Saudi state being responsible for these policies because the books were published by the state and the Imams on the editorial board received their salaries from the government.
Doubtful reforms
Freedom House also reported a similar result from a study conducted by Saudi Arabia itself. Presented in December 2003, it came to the following conclusion: The religious instruction of Saudi Arabia "encouraged violence against others and mislead the schoolchildren to believe that, in order to protect their religion, they had to oppress others with violence and even destroy them psychologically."
Saudi Arabia never reacted to the Freedom House report. However, the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, in 2006, said that the whole educational system of the kingdom had to be reviewed. To what extent this actually happened is unclear. In the years 2012/2013 the US State Department carried out a further study of Saudi school text books. The results have still not been published.
Money and faith
Saudi Arabia exports its version of Sunni Islam with the utmost consequence. In the last 25 years a former US ambassador estimated in a published study in 2007 that the kingdom had invested at least 87 billion dollars in religious propaganda worldwide. This sum, he thinks, may even have increased further due to the high price of oil over an extended period. The funds went towards the construction of mosques, Madrassa Koran schools and religious institutions, and helped finance the training of Imams, publishing houses and Wahhabi text books.
A large part of the funds go to economically weak, but populous Islamic countries in south and southeast Asia, such as Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, or Malaysia. Proselytizing for Wahhabism is also done in parts of Africa. For many people in these parts of the world it is the only possibility of getting a school education. There they learn how to read and write and are also given access to the Wahhabi teachings. But there are also Saudi Arabian financed institutions in the West.
Financing terror
The ideological closeness to "Islamic State" (IS) is reflected in concrete economic aid. It's hard to say how money is channeled to IS: The funds are transferred in the so-called Hawala System, an informal transfer system, where the money is not transferred in official bank notes, but via trusted third parties. Also here it's not clear, how far the Saudi state supports the IS directly or indirectly.
US Vice President Joe Biden grabbed headlines in the Fall of 2014 when he criticized the decisions of America's allies in the war on IS – Biden named Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – for their not intentional but negligent support for IS: "They were so determined to overthrow Assad and to lead a Sunni-Shiite war – what did they do? They pumped hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons to anyone who wanted to fight Assad. But they also supplied people from al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and extremist elements of the Jihadists from all parts of the world," Biden said.
'Terrorists are the worst enemies of Islam'
In the meantime, Saudi Arabia has distanced itself from IS terror. In August 2014, the grand mufti of the kingdom declared with direct reference to Al-Qaeda and IS that extremist, radical and terroristic ideas had nothing to do with Islam." And their initiators are the greatest enemy of Islam."
Saudi Arabia, writes the French Islam scientist Pierre-Jean Luizard in his book "Le piège Daech" ("The IS Trap"), today calls phenomena terrorist, which only a few years or months ago were veiwed as reliable upholders of Wahhabism. "It appears now that the Saudi regime has cut in record time, ties which had legitimized this political system; a system, which exported Wahhabi ideology on the one hand and yet showed great submission to American interests on the other. - a paradoxical political contrast, seldom practiced by any regime in the world."