Is Foolish Obama Walking into a Saudi Trap?
September 15, 2014 • 10:21AM

According to a report published on Saturday in Politico, the sudden decision by President Obama to renew plans to arm Syrian rebels fighting against the Islamic State was driven by Saudi Arabia. According to the account, Obama’s White House counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco was in Saudi Arabia last weekend, where she got a commitment from the Kingdom to provide training bases for the Syrian rebels. She raced back to Washington and reportedly briefed President Obama personally in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning. On the basis of the Saudi promise, Obama met with Congressional leaders and got them to approve an added $500 million in aid to the rebels, to be included in the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through December. The adding of the $500 million in support to the rebels, along with the leaking of the Saudi offer to host training bases, caused a backlash on Capitol Hill and strengthened the hands of those Members of Congress demanding that Obama formally get Congressional authorization for further military actions against the Islamic State.

With momentum building for the declassification of the 28 pages of the original 9/11 Joint Congressional Inquiry report detailing Saudi complicity with the hijackers, and with more and more evidence surfacing of the Saudi funding of the Islamic State and other Al Qaeda spinoffs, the idea that the Saudis would “offer’’ to host a training camp for Syrian rebels to fight against the Islamic State almost defies logic. Nevertheless, according to the Politico account, it was the Saudi offer that triggered the Administration’s push.

The Washington Post on Sunday published a lengthy front-page report on the growing skepticism about the Obama plan for defeating IS. The story at one point quoted Jamal Khashoggi, the head of Al-Arab News Channel, who argued that there is no incentive for the Saudis or other Gulf states to join in the fight against IS. “Nobody wants to be in the middle of a bloody sectarian war,’’ he told the Post. “And if we go into Syria, do we side with the rebels’’ or Syrian President Assad?

According to the author Richard Wright, and other Al Qaeda experts, it was the same Jamal Khashoggi who was secretly dispatched to Afghanistan in 1997 by the then head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki bin-Faisal, to strike a deal with Osama bin-Laden: Al Qaeda drops its targeting of the Saudi Kingdom, and in return, funds begin to flow again into the terrorist group’s coffers.

Obama Chief of Staff Peddles War Plan Against ISIS

President Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, trying to peddle Obama’s war plan against the Islamic State in the face of growing Congressional and public skepticism. In an appearance on Fox TV, McDonough went out of his way to praise Speaker of the House John Boehner, who the White House clearly sees as a key ally in the effort to get Congressional approval for $500 million in aid to Syrian rebels as part of a continuing resolution that must pass before Sept. 30 or the government could face another shutdown.

Grilled on news reports that factions of the Free Syrian Army have defected to the Islamic State and other units have recently reached a non-aggression pact with the jihadists, McDonough claimed the reports were untrue and that the FSA was the backbone of the Obama strategy for defeating IS in Syria. The credibility of McDonough’s claims was further damaged on Sept. 13, when the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Hayder Abadi, announced that the Iraqi Air Force was halting all airstrikes in IS-held territory to avoid civilian casualties that will further alienate Sunni populations. This now puts Iraq’s new government at odds with Washington, which has conducted 140 sorties over areas of northern Iraq under IS control.