Saudi largesse is throwing money again – in a bid to cover up its bloodstained hands in violence hitting the Middle East and beyond.
The latest public relations gimmick is the “donation” of $3 billion to the Lebanese army made by Saudi King Abdullah at the weekend.
The Saudi cash – twice the national military budget of Lebanon – is being regaled in the Western media as a noble offer to secure Lebanon from recent terror attacks.
The announcement was made during a visit to Riyadh by French President Francois Hollande, who met the Saudi king and the latter’s Lebanese proxy, Saad Hariri.
The new Saudi military aid to Lebanon is tied to the condition that it must be spent on purchasing French weaponry.
Already, the outlines of a sleazy deal are emerging. The above political actors have done much to destabilize Lebanon with violence, which is now being blamed on the wrong people – Shia Hezbollah – thanks to the deft finger work of billionaire Paris-exile Hariri.
One of the main protagonists of terrorism – Saudi Arabia – now steps in with a military aid “gift” that will allow it to influence the Lebanese army to go after Saudi enemy Hezbollah.
Such an insidious interference by Saudi Arabia in the internal affairs of Lebanon can only but incite further sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia in that country, which is still recovering from a 15-year civil war.
On top of this, the other main advocate of regional subversion and terrorism – France – stands to receive a handsome payback in weapons sales to the tune of $3 billion.
And all the while, the Western media give this despicable charade a veneer of respectability. It really is astounding how Western media can get away with such distortion.
Saudi blood money and sponsorship of terrorism are carrying out demonic work in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan and even it could be added in Iran’s peripheral southeast region.
Moreover, the Saudi terror connection can also be traced to the weekend double bombing in the southern Russian city of Volgograd where more than 30 people were killed.
In October, a suicide bomber killed six also in a bus attack in Volgograd. Other cities have also been hit with deadly attacks in Russia’s Dagestan in recent months.
The likely Chechen perpetrators behind those attacks – led by Saudi-linked Doku Umarov – are also involved in waging the Saudi-financed terror war in Syria.
Recall, too, that Saudi spymaster Prince Bandar only a few months ago made veiled threats to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the Sochi Winter Olympic Games were at risk to acts of sabotage. The Games are set to open on 7 February 2014.
Nevertheless, against this appalling background of provable Saudi-sponsored mayhem – stretching from the Mediterranean to the Russian Caucasus – we have this latest ridiculous Saudi public relations stunt.
Saudi King Abdullah, we are told, is to “grant” $3 billion to “help” the Lebanese army to “beef up its security”. France 24, among others, reported that the military boost “would help the Lebanese army fight … groups like Hezbollah, which has caused a wave of violence in the country.”
The latter claim by France 24 is a risible distortion of the facts. Lebanon has indeed witnessed a wave of violence in recent months, but the main victims of the attacks have been Hezbollah and Shia communities in southern Beirut and Baalbek in the east of the country.
The primary source of this bloodshed in Lebanon is groups linked to Saudi, Israeli and Western intelligence.
For example, the double suicide bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut on 19 November, which killed at least 23 including Iranian cultural attaché [to Beirut Hojjatoleslam] Ebrahim Ansari, was claimed by the Saudi-backed al-Qaeda group known as Abdullah Azzam Brigade.
The Saudi king’s act of generosity to “improve security” in Lebanon should therefore be scoffed at by media instead of praised. But this is the Western media performing its dutiful function of inverting reality.
King Abdullah’s show of magnanimity came two days after a prominent Lebanese Sunni politician, Mohamad Shatah, was assassinated in a massive bomb blast that targeted his car in the capital Beirut on Friday morning.
Western media were quick to highlight claims by Saudi-backed Lebanese political leader Saad Hariri that the perpetrators of Shatah’s murder were Hezbollah. The Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad was also implicated for the killing.
There is no evidence to attribute Shatah’s murder to Hezbollah, other than politicized conjecture. Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian allies all categorically condemned the killing.
However, there is strong circumstantial evidence that Shatah may have been liquidated by his geopolitical allies as a nefarious means of triggering further sectarian violence inside Lebanon.
The execution of his murder would have required split-second timing and confidential information of his itinerary. He was on his way to meet members of the Hariri-led March 14 group.
This pattern of fomenting sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia, as well as Christian, has been a staple of Saudi, Israeli and Western intelligence operating to destabilize Syria and Iraq over the past three years.
The splurging of $3 billion by Saudi Arabia to “increase Lebanon’s security” is merely cynical public relations to cover up the real source of violence in that country, as well as providing Riyadh military leverage to go after Hezbollah within Lebanon.
It follows the much bigger precedent of $100 million that Saudi Arabia doled out to the United Nations Anti-Terrorism Center last August.
That donation was made at the end of the Holy Muslim Month of Ramadan as “a gift from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Islam”.
In the previous four weeks before that “gift”, some 1,000 Iraqis were killed in terror attacks mainly committed by the Saudi-bankrolled al-Qaeda franchise known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
This same group has been engaging in similar atrocities in neighboring Syria, along with [so-called] al-Nusra Front, [so-called] Liwa al-Tawhid and [so-called] Ahrar al-Sham – all of them Saudi-sponsored.
The simple fact is that the sectarian bloodshed inundating Syria and Iraq, and increasingly now in Lebanon, as well as in countries as far apart as Yemen and Russia, would not be happening if it were not for the blood money flowing from Saudi Arabia.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is now located in East Africa as a freelance journalist, where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring, based on eyewitness experience working in the Persian Gulf as an editor of a business magazine and subsequently as a freelance news correspondent. The author was deported from Bahrain in June 2011 because of his critical journalism in which he highlighted systematic human rights violations by regime forces. He is now a columnist on international politics for Press TV and the Strategic Culture Foundation.