Black Daesh, White Daesh

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The New York Times has recently published an article describing the terrorist group of Daesh as Black Daesh and Saudi Arabia as White Daesh. Both have many things in common.

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Narration: The so-called war on terror, launched almost 14 years ago by then US President George W. Bush, has caused interminable problems so far; one of them, the emergence of the bloodthirsty terrorist group known as Daesh. Last year, the US forces, along with their Western allies, came back to Iraq under the pretext of fighting Daesh after the group took over swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territories and proclaimed a self-styled state in these two countries. But the question is, how did Daesh come into being and how did the group expand the sphere of its influence across the region and beyond? Political experts believe that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 was the starting point for the creation of Daesh. On the other hand, the Western-backed anti-government militancy in Syria is believed to have fanned the flames of terrorism and extremism in the region. Daesh still receives financial and logistic supports from some reactionary states that used to sponsor al-Qaeda terrorists over the past decades. An op-ed article recently published in the New York Times has described the terrorist group of Daesh as Black Daesh and Saudi Arabia as White Daesh. The Black Daesh cuts off hands, slits throats, kills civilians, stones girls, destroys cultural heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. On the other side, Saudi Arabia is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The article criticizes the West for waging a war against Daesh while shaking hands with Saudi Arabia, its famous strategic alliance, that preach Wahhabism, an unorthodox reading of Islam that Daesh feeds on.

SOUNDBITE [English] Rep. Hank Johnson: “It’s true though that the ideology of ISIL lines up with Wahhabism.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Robert Ford, Former US Ambassador to Syria: “I would say it’s a starting point and then the Islamic State has taken several steps further.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Rep. Hank Johnson: “Yes. And it is fair to say that Saudi support for the teaching of Wahhabism create further ground for ISIL recruitment effort?”

SOUNDBITE [English] Robert Ford, Former US Ambassador to Syria: “I think Saudi promotion of Wahhabism is absolutely a problem in terms of Islamic State’s recruitment.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Rep. Hank Johnson: “So we would be unable to defeat the global Jihadist movement which is based on largely Wahhabism which is a state-sponsored religion of Saudi Arabia without somehow enlisting the support of Saudi royal family in withdrawing its financial support for Wahhabism.”

Narration:There is a consensus among political experts that the Wahhabi-Takfiri ideology which excommunicates followers of other faiths and religions and promotes a kind of sectarian supremacy is the main driving force behind the acts of terror committed by al-Qaeda, Daesh, al-Nusra Front and many other terrorist organizations supported by Saudi Arabia. In fact, all these terrorists groups spring from the kingdom, where its leaders relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, a fanatic ideology which was born in massacre and blood. For centuries, the Najd region in central Saudi Arabia was ripped apart by Arab rival tribes until the mid-18th century, when it became a breeding ground for Wahhabism led by Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab; a man who let his followers kill the followers of other religions and sects and loot everything that lay in their path.

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Narration:According to Abd al-Wahhab, all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader. And "Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated.”

This misreading of Islam is reflected in the atrocities of Black Daesh. But this is exactly what Saudi kingdom does as the mentor and preacher of the same teachings. The beheading of pacific Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr is a case in point.

SOUNDBITE [English] Protester against Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr execution: “Today is a day of mourning; mark this day, the second of January, the day our scholar, the day our defender of the innocent was slaughtered to death before our very eyes.”

Narration: White Daesh can do justice for a kingdom where women are deprived of basic rights, where there is no election to be held, where there is harsh discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, and where only princes inherit top political positions. If Black Daesh is mercilessly killing civilians in Iraq and Syria without any reason, White Daesh, on the other hand, is bombarding neighboring Yemen on a daily basis and is supporting the ruling dynasty in Bahrain in suppressing the Bahrainis who demand democracy in a peaceful way.

In 2013, the European Parliament released a report in which it called Wahhabism as the main source of terrorism. In the report, Saudi Arabia had been mentioned as the major source of financing terrorist organizations since the 1970s. According to the report, the United States has been aware of the financing network that begins from Arab countries and reaches terrorist organizations through charitable institutions. In December 2009, a classified memo from then, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated donors in Saudi Arabia were the most significant source of funding to terrorist groups including al Qaeda. Hillary Clinton: "More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups."

Meanwhile, on September 4, 2014 London’s Daily Express published an article titled “Why do we back regimes in Qatar and Saudi Arabia?” to say that Saudi Arabia and Qatar had undoubtedly been arming and financing Daesh.

There is no doubt that Daesh could not have existed so long without Saudi Arabia’s support for global Wahhabism as well as political and logistic support by other regional countries like Qatar and Turkey.

According to Günter Meyer, Director of the Center for Research into the Arabic World, at University of Mainz, Germany the most important source of Daesh financing to date has been flowing from the Persian Gulf states, mainly Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. On the other hand, prominent Sunni scholars believe that Takfiris are Muslims in name only.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Clergy man: “With these violent acts they commit, the extremist acts they do, They make Muslims and the Islamic world despise them as well as the world because they are attributed to Islam. When they do such things, the world would wage a campaign against Islam saying the Muslims are violent and do such heinous things and as a result they deliver a blow to Islam. In short, Islam will be harmed fundamentally and a campaign will be waged against Islam and they pave the way for this purpose, sad to say.”

Narration: To purge the world of the slime of Daesh, a three-pronged measure has to be taken at national, regional and international levels. At the national level, countries that support terrorism with their petrodollars should change their policy in this regard. At the regional level, all countries involved should give priority to collective development of the region instead of sectarian interests. And finally at the international level, not only the international community but also the major powers should give up double standards and join hands in wiping up terrorism, whether black or white. 


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