11 November 2018 — NEO
Nothing illustrates the cynical and deceitful nature of Western “journalism” better than the recent, apparent US-Saudi fallout in the wake of the alleged death of Washington Post Saudi correspondent, Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi allegedly disappeared and has been reported killed at the hands of Saudi consulate staff in Istanbul, Turkey. Of course, the US, UK, EU, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are among the most dubious actors in modern geopolitics. Ascertaining the truth regarding the events surrounding Khashoggi may ultimately turn out to be an insurmountable task.
But the various narratives and reactions of Western political and media circles still provides us insight into the true character of Western international relations including extreme hypocrisy regarding human rights, the use and abuse of Western media platforms to selectively cover events around the globe to favor Western interests, and the ultimate fate that awaits other US “allies.”
The New York Times Suddenly Notices “Overlooked” Yemen War
The New York Times in a series of social media posts and articles seems to suddenly notice the long list of atrocities Saudi Arabia is responsible for – including the ongoing war in Yemen. In a social media post published on Twitter, the New York Times would claim:
The Khashoggi crisis has called attention to a largely overlooked Saudi-led war in Yemen. On a rare trip to the front line, New York Times journalists found Yemenis fighting and dying in a war that has gone nowhere.
Of course, it is impossible that a newspaper as large, as prominent, as well-known and well-funded as the New York Times simply “overlooked” the “Saudi-led war in Yemen.”
It was the systematic and concerted cover up by the Western media regarding the war – which began in 2015 – that provided Saudi Arabia the impunity with which it executed the war.
It is only political motivations in Washington now, that require newspapers like the New York Times to suddenly “notice” the war – but only partially. The New York Times would publish a recent article titled, “This is the front line of Saudi Arabia’s invisible war,” claiming:
The Saudi-led war in Yemen has ground on for more than three years, killing thousands of civilians and creating what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But it took the crisis over the apparent murder of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate two weeks ago for the world to take notice.
Saudi Arabia’s brash young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, under scrutiny over the Khashoggi case, now faces a fresh reckoning for his ruthless prosecution of the war in Yemen — yet another foreign policy debacle for Saudi Arabia, and a catastrophe for the Arab world’s poorest country.
Nowhere in the New York Times’ piece is a single, even oblique mention made of the US role in the war. However – in fact – the war is being fought with US-made warplanes, refueled by US Air Force-crewed aerial refueling aircraft, dropping US-built ordnance on targets selected by US intelligence agencies, with the help of US special forces on the ground directly assisting Saudi forces.
Worst of all, it was the New York Times itself that admitted to all of these facts. In its May 2018 article titled, “Army Special Forces Secretly Help Saudis Combat Threat From Yemen Rebels,” the New York Times would admit:
For years, the American military has sought to distance itself from a brutal civil war in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces are battling rebels who pose no direct threat to the United States.
But late last year, a team of about a dozen Green Berets arrived on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, in a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars.
The article would also admit:
Details of the Green Beret operation, which has not been previously disclosed, were provided to The New York Times by United States officials and European diplomats.
They appear to contradict Pentagon statements that American military assistance to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and general intelligence sharing.
And indeed, the war in Yemen is not a “Saudi-led war,” it is in fact just one of America’s many “secret wars.” It is secret specifically because of the complicity of newspapers like the New York Times, only now cynically and dishonestly reporting on the Yemen war as part of a concerted campaign aimed at decoupling US culpability and leaving it entirely with Riyadh.
For years before the Khashoggi incident, the New York Times and others were more than content with burying and spinning news about Yemen, or not covering it at all.
US Media Pretends to Only Now Notice Saudi Atrocities, Omits US Role Underwriting Them
The Western media demonstrates its absolute contempt for the intelligence of its collective audience. Their sudden concern and feigned outrage aimed at Saudi Arabia tenuously papers over decades of Saudi atrocities both inside Saudi Arabia itself, and across the world through its key role in state sponsored terrorism.
A remarkable admission was made in the pages of the Washington Post in a March 2018 article titled, “Saudi prince denies Kushner is ‘in his pocket’.”
The article would quote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stating (emphasis added):
Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.
While the article claims “successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort” and that funding is now provided by “Saudi-based “foundations,”” this is not true.
There are no “successive governments” in Saudi Arabia. The nation since its founding has been run by a single family – the House of Saud.
And while Saudi-based foundations may be the conduit through which Wahhabism is organized, funded, and directed, it most certainly is done at the behest of Riyadh in a process fully underwritten by Washington.
Among Washington’s other “secret wars” are Libya and Syria where terrorists recruited, radicalized, trained, funded, and armed through US-Saudi funded Wahhabism were unleashed on the battlefield.
Amid these two conflicts, newspapers like the New York Times worked overtime providing them with public exposure – seeking to sell to the public greater and more direct Western military intervention. In Libya, these efforts resulted in a NATO-led air campaign that eventually toppled the Libyan government and plunged the nation into years of infighting, terrorism, slavery, and enduring dysfunction that persists today.
In Syria, the gambit fell short when Russia intervened at the request of Damascus, effectively blocking a similar NATO-led Libya-style air campaign. Russian warplanes targeted NATO supply routes out of Turkey feeding terrorist organizations operating inside Syrian territory, and ultimately turned the tide of the war.
And just as the US and Saudi Arabia used terrorist organizations in Libya and Syria to fight their proxy wars, an AP investigation revealed they were doing likewise in Yemen.
The AP article titled, “AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen,” would report (emphasis added):
Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.
Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
Thus, the Western media has always been and is still fully aware of the true nature of Saudi Arabia’s decades-long geopolitical trajectory – as it was the West and more specifically the US and UK who helped launch it in the first place. And it was the Western media who all along helped spin it on its way.
Western Media’s Deceit on full Display
The deceitful and intelligence-insulting narratives now being peddled by papers like the New York Times and others are unacceptable. If Riyadh falls, so too must those in Washington and London who built Riyadh up and walked with it – bloody hand-in-bloody hand – every step of the way.
Attempts to decouple Western culpability from Saudi atrocities is an illustration of the immense duplicity and impropriety of Western political and media circles. But it is also a warning to the rest of Washington and London’s “allies”- like the current regime in Ukraine – who believe their relationship and complicity with, as well as their obedience to the West affords them inexhaustible impunity.
It does not.
The West picks weak, dependent, and dysfunctional political, military, and economic partners specifically because their very nature serves as the perfect check to keep them under control and if need be, to dispose of expediently.
What’s Really Behind the Khashoggi Fallout?
For now, it is unclear whether the fallout between the US and Saudi Arabia is real or imagined. The US and Turkey may be using Saudi Arabia to expunge their responsibility for their joint support of global terrorism alongside Riyadh, or perhaps to preemptively decouple from Riyadh ahead of a planned “Saudi” provocation against Iran.
Or Riyadh may have refused requests made by Washington and is now being pressured to reverse its decision.
So far, absent are the sort of aggressive steps taken when Washington faces a real enemy it seeks to inflict damage upon. Unlike with Russia when baseless accusations were made regarding election interference, the downing of MH-17, or the entire Skripal affair – there are no sanctions being discussed regarding Riydah. Weapons and US military support still flow to Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen continues unabated, all while the US military continues providing Riyadh with defacto protection with its forces scattered across the Middle East.
Until these facts on the ground change, we may simply be witnessing geopolitical theater where Saudi Arabia is elected to play the “villain” and absorbs responsibility for years, if not decades of atrocities jointly committed with its Anglo-American sponsors. By doing so, the US can save face and leave Riyadh with the broken pieces of their collective and ill-conceived regional and global policies. Only time will tell.
One fact we can be certain of is that neither the US nor Saudi Arabia can be relied on for the truth. If the truth surrounding Khashoggi’s fate ever does emerge, it will not be from the Western or Saudi media nor from representatives of their respective capitals.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.